By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies batsman, Faoud Baccus, said his decision to play for a rebel West Indies team that competed in Africa between 1982 and 1990, was based on nothing more than just wanting to play the game after being dropped by the senior men’s regional squad.
Baccus, who spoke on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show from the US, said the apartheid situation in South Africa at the time, did not influence in decision in anyway.
“We weren’t thinking of apartheid, we were just thinking about playing cricket and I had just been left out of the West Indies team going back to India after the World Cup and so I just went. It had nothing to do with politics. I was just made an offer and I thought it was good. Just like the guys with Kerry Packer, when they went everybody called them rebels, right? Except, Kerry Packer was accepted,” he said.
The rebel tours were given that name because the international cricketing bodies had banned South Africa from competitive international cricket throughout 1982 t0 1990 because of apartheid.
The unsanctioned tours were however organised and conducted in spite of the express disapproval of national cricket boards and governments, the International Cricket Council and international organisations such as the United Nations.
Baccus, also a former Guyana national player, hinted that he felt that at the time, he didn’t have many other options.
“And by the way, I didn’t go at the beginning of the tour and like I told you, everything changes and at the time I made that decision and just went. I didn’t worry because I didn’t think I was going to make the West Indies team back and I was closer to 30 so I just went,” he said.
The first major tour to Africa was by an English team led by Graham Gooch in March 1982. Twelve cricketers, 11 of them with Test caps, had agreed in secret to make a one-month tour of the republic. The news only broke when they arrived in Johannesburg. The players expected a brief public outcry and ICC slap on the wrist. Instead they were the subject of global outrage among press and politicians, and labelled “the Dirty Dozen” in the Houses of Parliament.