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Thread: Those rebel tours of South Africa....

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    Those rebel tours of South Africa....

    I read an interesting interview with former Guyana and England batsman Monte Lynch in the Sunday Times recently....

    'The other worst moment was going to South Africa with a West Indies rebel team in 1983. I did not enjoy the tour one bit. A lot of us did not realise the severity of apartheid. We were ignorant about the real South Africa until we got there, and then it was too late. I was banned for four years and regret denying myself the opportunity to play at the highest level, which I believe I might have achieved. From a cricketing point of view, I learnt a lot out there about batting from Lawrence Rowe, Collis King and Alvin Kallicharran and came back a different, more confident player, scoring more than 1,000 runs each season for the next four years.'

    Best & Worst: Monte Lynch - Times Online

    Was Lynch naive to take part in a tour of apartheid South Africa, bearing in mind that the team was composed of blacks and Asians, who were treated like second-class citizens in that country at the time? Lynch was only 25 at the time, but such was the backlash in the Caribbean to their tour, which was seen especially in Jamaica and Guyana as a betrayal, quite a few of them felt they had to migrate from the Caribbean. Lawrence Rowe and Colin Croft ended their cricketing careers, and moved to Florida, while Alvin Kallicharran, Franklyn Stephenson and Lynch himself moved to England where they played county cricket.

    But others were not so lucky....

    Jamaicans Richard Austin and Everton Mattis went mad, while Barbadian David Murray became a drug addict. They just couldn't handle the fact that they were no longer revered in the Caribbean, but were treated as pariahs.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    I was at Lords for one of Monte's three ODI's for England against the WIndies in 1988 - the abuse he got from the West Indian supporters in the crowd was way over the top - every time he came near them he got a barrage of it - I would think that afternoon must rank high on his list of worst memories

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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    I was at Lords for one of Monte's three ODI's for England against the WIndies in 1988 - the abuse he got from the West Indian supporters in the crowd was way over the top - every time he came near them he got a barrage of it - I would think that afternoon must rank high on his list of worst memories
    It might have been over the top, but it was understandable, considering how betrayed the Caribbean people felt about the tour....

    The Caribbean independent countries were some of the staunchest supporters of the anti-apartheid movement.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
    It might have been over the top, but it was understandable, considering how betrayed the Caribbean people felt about the tour....

    The Caribbean independent countries were some of the staunchest supporters of the anti-apartheid movement.
    Indeed - the supporters concerned were sat next to the group I was with and were excellent company all day - they took the trouble to discuss the issues with us and it was only as a result of that that I began to fully understand just how abhorrent apartheid was - I thought some of the abuse was unnecessarily personal (and one or two of them did as well) but I understood afterwards why Monte had brought it on himself - there is an interesting book in the shops - "The Rebel Tours" by Peter May


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    Here's an interesting article on the WI rebels....

    The unforgiven | Specials | Cricinfo Magazine | Cricinfo.com

    I've seen Richard Austin on the streets as well, and he's a sorry sight. Michael Manley had a very good section in his 'History of West Indies Cricket' about the rebel tours.

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    Market forces are market forces. You underpay your players long-term, they're going to register their dissent somehow.

    That said, the bannings were warranted. The administrators lost a lot of good players doing it, though, and it was ultimately their own fault.

    That said, sporting boycotts weren't the reason South Africa banned apartheid, however ethical they were.
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    Hall of Fame Member Marcuss's Avatar
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    Was just about to post that link, I basically have no idea what happened other then the very basic understanding of what the rebel tours were.
    So after reading your opening post I cricinfo-ed each of the players you mentioned and it lead me to that article.
    Is fascinating stuff really.

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    Cricketer Of The Year wpdavid's Avatar
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    tbh I find it hard to believe that they didn't know about the realities of Apartheid. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I suspect they simply had no idea how strong the reaction would be in the Caribbean, and that's what they 'regret'.

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    Nah, I reckon like a lot of young men, they were probably pretty happily ignorant of anything that had, to that point, not directly impinged on their life/world. Have to say, sportsmen seem to be particularly bad in that regard. Talking in generalities of course, there are exceptions, but a lot of elite athletes seem to have a fairly blinkered and self-obsessed view of the world. Then again, that phenomeon is probably an unavoidable side-effect of the levels of commitment and focus needed to achieve elite results in their field - if you spend too much time doing anything other than working your ass off to be the best cricketer/footballer/cyclist whatever, you're probably never going to make it as a professional.
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    Yes, they were naive to think that they could join this tour and escape unscathed

    But the reaction to these guys was disgraceful and particularly in light of the fact that at least one of the guys in the "official" WI side was a shocking racist

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    They certainly should have had an inkling of what they were letting themselves in for - a few years earlier in 1977 when Michael Holding was offered a AUS$25,000 a year contract by Kerry Packer - prior to that he'd been on EC$200 per test - despite those riches he still wouldn't sign up until the Jamaican PM, Michael Manley, said it was OK - his worry was that Packer had signed a few South Africans for his world XI - If Mikey, at 23, saw the potential for problems in that it must have been blindingly obvious to those on the rebel tours that trouble would follow

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    I think with the benefit of hindsight we might look upon their ignorance rather more harshly than we should. In England, Apartheid was a much more controversial issue at the time than it is now. Margaret Thatcher, for example, was quite notably sympathetic to the regime, vetoing UN economic sanctions against it and repeatedly condemning anti-Apartheid protests. While it looks like rank idiocy now, at the time it was seen as a legitimate political viewpoint.

    As for the West Indians, I think it's easy for those of us in the UK to condemn money-based motivation because we're not at risk of entering the edge of subsistence. Lifelong economic security is an entirely different proposition to someone who grew up in rural Jamaica in the 1970s, whether they were fully aware of the social consequences or not.

    But even given those qualifications, they really don't come out looking too classy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
    Here's an interesting article on the WI rebels....

    The unforgiven | Specials | Cricinfo Magazine | Cricinfo.com

    I've seen Richard Austin on the streets as well, and he's a sorry sight. Michael Manley had a very good section in his 'History of West Indies Cricket' about the rebel tours.
    As the article says, if they had been born in Cape Town - what would have happened to their ability?

    Most of them were poor, and it was a lot of money, and I'm not in any position to be holier than thou hate them personally - I hope I'd have the courage to refuse the money, but that's just talk and hindsight. I've never faced that situation.

    But I understand why so many people could only see betrayal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpdavid View Post
    tbh I find it hard to believe that they didn't know about the realities of Apartheid. Maybe I'm being unfair, but I suspect they simply had no idea how strong the reaction would be in the Caribbean, and that's what they 'regret'.
    Absolutely. All the reports were that they were treated amazingly well and a number went back to SA. It seems the main issue and complaint was how the were treated at home and the bans they received.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredfertang View Post
    They certainly should have had an inkling of what they were letting themselves in for - a few years earlier in 1977 when Michael Holding was offered a AUS$25,000 a year contract by Kerry Packer - prior to that he'd been on EC$200 per test - despite those riches he still wouldn't sign up until the Jamaican PM, Michael Manley, said it was OK - his worry was that Packer had signed a few South Africans for his world XI - If Mikey, at 23, saw the potential for problems in that it must have been blindingly obvious to those on the rebel tours that trouble would follow
    Players like Holding, Richards and Lloyd were very politically aware, and were strong critics of the apartheid regime before the rebel tours, so I also find it hard to believe that the players who went can claim ignorance. You just needed to share a dressing room with this trio to know how they felt about apartheid!

    However, I think the cricinfo article misses a crucial point. How many of the players really benefitted from the rebel tour? The really poor fringe players who probably 'needed' the money only got small sums, i.e. Murray, Austin, Chang, Mattis, Wynter. Two of them went mad and ended up roaming the streets, another became a drug addict, and the other two migrated to the US.

    As for Moseley being a waiter, well, so were many other potential WI cricketers at the time. If Moseley had been patient, he could've ended up in the WI side. After his ban was ended, he made it, didn't he? Imagine what his career would've been like if he hadn't gone to South Africa....

    Clarke and Croft had WI careers, and threw them away for what I can only say is greed. They didn't need the money. The following players didn't need the money because they could've earned it on the county circuit: Kallicharran, Lynch, Stephenson. Rowe had a decent career as a WI batsman, so as far as I can see, these players accepted the money out of greed, not need.

    Players like Julien should've expected the reaction they got when they returned to the Caribbean. Did he really think he was going to get a job after that betrayal? Players like Padmore, King and Alvin Greenidge was practically at the end of their careers....

    As for being treated well, on one of the rebel tours, two of the players boarded a train and went straight for the first-class department. They were comfortably seated there when an outraged ticket inspector came and roughly and loudly told those 'K*ffirs' to get the hell out of the compartment and go to the section where they belonged. They were so humiliated!

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