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Jack Cheetham in 1952
|Full name||John Erskine Cheetham|
|Born||26 May 1920|
Cape Town, South Africa
|Died||21 August 1980 (aged 60)|
Johannesburg, South Africa
A middle-order batsman, Cheetham captained South Africa in 15 Test matches, and led the side to a drawn series in Australia in 1952–53, victories away and at home to New Zealand in the 1952–53 season and the 1953–54 season, and a narrow 3–2 defeat in England in 1955.
He played for Western Province from 1939–40 to 1954–55. Playing against Orange Free State in December 1951 he scored 271 not out, which was the highest score ever made in the Currie Cup. Five days later Eric Rowan took the record from him, with 277 not out for Transvaal against Griqualand West.
Rodney Hartman said of him: "Cheetham, the archetype gentleman, embodied the best virtues of sportsmanship and human endeavour, and was always held up as the ideal kind of man to captain his country."
He served in the Middle East during the Second World War. He graduated from the University of Cape Town and worked as an engineer for the construction company Murray & Roberts and later as a director. After he died, the company instituted the Jack Cheetham Memorial Award to recognise those who have done outstanding work promoting sport in disadvantaged communities.
During the D'Oliveira affair in 1968 the apartheid regime used Cheetham as an emissary to the MCC in their efforts to ensure that Basil D'Oliveira, a South African-born mixed-race cricketer, would not be picked to represent England on the forthcoming tour of South Africa. The South African Cricket Association (SACA), of which Cheetham was the vice-president, supported segregation of all sport, as required by the regime. On arrival in England Cheetham delivered a letter from the SACA which promised nothing on D'Oliveira, and he was then used by the MCC to deliver a message back to South Africa that "the MCC would do almost anything to see that the tour is on".
- Caught by the Springboks (1953) (about the South African tour of Australia and New Zealand, 1952–53)
- I Declare (1956) (about the South African tour of England, 1955)
- Orange Free State v Western Province 1950–51. Cricketarchive.com. Retrieved on 21 May 2018.
- Wisden 1952, p. 890.
- Rodney Hartman, Ali: The Life of Ali Bacher, Penguin, Johannesburg, 2006, p. 47.
- ABC Cricket Book: South Africans Tour 1952–53, ABC, Sydney, 1952, p. 9.
- Against the Odds Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Basil D'Oliveira, Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story by Peter Oborne, pp. 148, 152.
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