We are too young to have seen D'Oliveira play, but his record speaks for itself. He averaged over 40 with the bat in his 44 Tests - a record all the more impressive given that he didn't make his debut until he was 35. He also scored nearly 20,000 runs and took over 500 wickets in first-class cricket.
But stats only tell half the story with Dolly, who was the catalyst for the sporting ban that was belatedly the fate of South Africa due to its vile Apartheid regime.
The South Africans refused to countenance D'Oliveira - a Cape Coloured by birth - as part of the MCC squad to tour their country in 1968 and this self-inflicted wound led to their eventual banishment from world sport.
Many argue that sport and politics shouldn't mix, but as Scyld Berry thoughtfully argued in the Daily Telegraph yesterday:
"History may well decide that the lives of millions of non-white South Africans would have been made wretched for even longer but for Basil D'Oliveira."
A poignant reminder for present-day South Africa and perhaps an indication of the debt of gratitude that the likes of Hashim Amla and Makhaya Ntini owe the dignified and brave D'Oliveira.
Cricket Heroes: Hashim Amla
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