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The Rebel Tours: Cricket's Crisis of Conscience (HB)

The Rebel Tours: Cricket's Crisis of Conscience (HB)

Ref No: 9781899807802

Details: Author: Peter May

Type: Books

RRP: £17.99
Price: £8.99

In 1968 cricket was at the forefront of global opposition to apartheid. The D'Oliveira affair proved a watershed in sanctions against South Africa, leading to an international boycott on sporting links. This sporting boycott was described by many as the most effective of all attempts to discredit the apartheid regime. Yet the boycott was repeatedly breached by high-profile cricket tours. Teams from England, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Australia defied sanctions to visit the sport-hungry republic. In doing so they earned enormous salaries but these were matched by the disrepute; no sportsmen in history had generated greater front-page controversy or criticism. Instantly the tours became the currency of world politics. Inside South Africa matches were billed as internationals to stand comparison with any Test in the world; outside they were labelled triumphs for either freedom or tyranny.

Behind the furore the cricket endured - and featured some of the game's most illustrious names: Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards, Geoffrey Boycott and Graham Gooch, Lawrence Rowe and Sylvester Clarke, and Kim Hughes and Terry Alderman were among the many leading players to take part in fascinating matches often attended by capacity crowds. The fortunes of apartheid and cricket remained entwined to the very end when a final rebel party, led by Mike Gatting, was tempted to South Africa in 1990. Cricket and politics collided with formidable force once again. As FW De Klerk prepared to release Nelson Mandela from his cell, non-white South Africa began to vent decades of frustration and fury with English cricketers the focal point. The 'rebel tours' are cricket's forgotten crisis. They brought an essentially parochial game into global disrepute, 'private' tours earning those who took part public opprobrium, political sanctions and in some cases personal ruin.

"The Rebel Tours - Cricket's Crisis of Conscience" examines all sides of this remarkable story, narrating events both off the field and on to provide the essential account of a game and a world now long forgotten.

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