|Barry Richards...batting far more stylish than his hair|
In the seventies you had the guys who were outstanding in county cricket in England. Eddie Barlow was a quality bat, and along with Barry Richards they would have made a fine opening pair. Richards was one of the most beautiful players around and it wasn't just his namesake Viv who destroyed county attacks in the seventies. Then there was Peter Kirsten who was a serious player. Saying that a hilarious story was told by Kirsy, after a game in which he was the victim of being a victim of 'Mankading' or being run out backing up, live on South African tv. One kid came up to him a week later and said it was easily done, to which the opening bat agreed. The kid then told him that he had done two people like that this week, and the man who played for Derbyshire and Western Province didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
|Big Vince...Middlesex legend|
Clive Rice was another who won titles at Nottinghamshire whilst over here, and Vincent van der Bijl, as well as giving us cockney rhyming slang for haemmorhoids, was immense for Middlesex as they romped to the title in 1980. His 85 wickets and useful runs were also a factor in bagging the Gillette Cup that year too. I have it on good authority that he was also one of the nicest people to play the game and many associated with Middlesex at the time, still speak fondly about the great man.
Another man synonymous with one day cricket in England in the seventies was Mike Proctor. A televised hat trick for Proctorshire, as the team who play in Bristol were known, and his late in swingers were devastating, albeit looking as if they were delivered off the wrong foot. Thirteen wickets and a rapid century against Worcestershire, two hat tricks in two weeks at one point and numerous awards meant that this Natal all rounder would have walked into any Test team in the world as a batsman or a bowler, as Procky smashed records a plenty. Kenny McEwen at Essex was another legend of county cricket, not forgetting Rodney Ontong at Glamorgan. Garth Le Roux was seriously rapid down at Hove and Stephen Jeffries was a useful bowler at Lancashire.
|Procky...loved a hat trick or a ton before lunch|
The players who didn't come over here who were excellent were Graeme Pollock, one of the best batsmen ever in the history of the game and his brother, opening bowler Peter and father of Shaun. Trevor Quirk was another, and someone I have on good authority was one of the finest drinkers in the game regularly being able to drink people under the table. The commentator was also once given out for 'obstructing the field' deliberately swatting away a throw coming from behind him at mid on, when running from the non strikers end. Finally a mention must go to the outstanding Omar Henry. Henry did eventually play Test cricket, but at the age of 41.
In the eighties there were plenty of other fine players who never showed their skills in the international arena. Jimmy Cook scored a huge amount of runs over here for Somerset and Henry Fotheringham, the uncle of Derbyshire's Wayne Madsen was also prolific. Hugh Page was disappointing in a spell at Essex but was highly regarded in South Africa, Ray Jennings also being a fine wicket keeper before he became an outstanding coach. Alan Kourie also deserves a mention for his slow left armers.
|Legga...SA's loss was England's gain|
Then in addition you had the players who went elsewhere to play their international sport. Would Allan Lamb or Basil D'Oliveira have represented England with such distinction if South Africa were allowed to play? Probably not. A similar question could then be thrown at Kepler Wessels for Australia, or Chris and Robin Smith for England? Surely the likes of Dave Richardson or Fanie De Villiers would have picked up more caps had they only just made the cut after South Africa were re admitted in 1992 following the fall of the government of FW De Klerk?
So yes, these guys were banned, but in essence you could argue that they were just as much a victim of apartheid as others within the country. They even walked off the pitch once at Newlands to try and put their views of the discriminatory laws across.
Their only crime was to be born in the era that they were.