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Jack Cheetham

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Jack Cheetham
Jack Cheetham in 1952
Personal information
Full nameJohn Erskine Cheetham
Born(1920-05-26)26 May 1920
Cape Town, South Africa
Died21 August 1980(1980-08-21) (aged 60)
Johannesburg, South Africa
BattingRight-hand bat
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 24 108
Runs scored 883 5697
Batting average 23.86 42.20
100s/50s 0/5 8/33
Top score 89 271*
Balls bowled 6 613
Wickets 8
Bowling average 47.00
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 2/38
Catches/stumpings 13/- 66/-
Source: Cricinfo

John Erskine "Jack" Cheetham (26 May 1920 – 21 August 1980) was a South African cricketer who played in 24 Tests from 1949 to 1955.

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,[1] 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.[2]

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."[3]

He served in the Middle East during the Second World War.[4] 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.[5]

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".[6]


  • 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)


  1. ^ Orange Free State v Western Province 1950–51. Cricketarchive.com. Retrieved on 21 May 2018.
  2. ^ Wisden 1952, p. 890.
  3. ^ Rodney Hartman, Ali: The Life of Ali Bacher, Penguin, Johannesburg, 2006, p. 47.
  4. ^ ABC Cricket Book: South Africans Tour 1952–53, ABC, Sydney, 1952, p. 9.
  5. ^ Against the Odds Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  6. ^ Basil D'Oliveira, Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story by Peter Oborne, pp. 148, 152.
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Jack Cheetham
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