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Not Cricket: The Basil d'Oliveira Conspiracy (2004)

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Credited cast:
John Arlott ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jack Bannister ...
Himself
Basil D'Oliveira ...
Himself
Alec Douglas-Home ...
Himself (archive footage)
Peter Hain ...
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Jim Laker ...
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...
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Bruce Murray ...
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Peter Oborne ...
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Documentary

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2004 (UK)  »

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Re-Telling of a Salutary Tale of Everyday Racism
8 July 2013 | by (London) – See all my reviews

NOT CRICKET tells the story of how colored cricketer Basil D'Oliveira was consciously omitted from the England team to tour South Africa in 1968 on the grounds of race, at the behest of the South African government under John Vorster. Although those involved insisted to the contrary - notably chief of the England selectors Doug Insole - it emerged that Vorster's government had been directly in touch with the English cricket administrators, informing them in no uncertain terms that if D'Oliveira were selected, the tour would be canceled. The documentary traces D'Oliveira's early career growing up under apartheid, and his subsequent move to England, where he began playing league cricket and eventually merited selection for the national team. At the time the documentary was made, D'Oliveira was still alive - although trying hard not to blame anyone for the entire affair, it was clear that he was terribly hurt by his treatment, especially by those (such as England captain Colin Cowdrey) whom he thought were his friends. While Paul Yule's documentary rightly condemns the South African government for its institutional racism, it also implies that the English cricket authorities were equally racist; they were prepared not to select D'Oliveira (despite his record) for the team, out of a desire 'not to rock the boat,' and thereby sustain good diplomatic relations between the UK and South Africa.


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