JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa (CSA) has heard with sadness of the passing of Sulaiman "Dik" Abed in the Netherlands today at the age of 73.
He was the youngest of the five Abed brothers who all had distinguished sporting careers, first in Cape Town where they grew up and later overseas as they strived to enjoy the opportunities they had been denied by the apartheid system in the land of their birth.
Two of his brothers, Gasant "Tiny" Abed and Salie "Lobo" Abed, were part of the SACBOC national side that toured East Africa under the captaincy of Basil d’Oliveira and also played a home series against the same team.
A third brother, Goolam, although also a good cricketer, was a multi-talented sportsman who chose to pursue a rugby league career in England with success.
Dik had an outstanding career for the Western Province Cricket Board in the late 60s before first-class three-day matches were introduced as a quality batsman and as a fast bowler whose key weapon was a devastating leg-cutter.
When the opportunity arose, he took up a contract with Enfield in the Lancashire League in England and became one of the best overseas professionals ever to play in the league scoring more than 5 000 runs and taking over 800 wickets over a 10-year period from 1967 to 1976.
He had trials with several England counties but never had the opportunity to play first-class cricket. He later settled in Holland and captained that country at the ICC Trophy Competition in England in 1981.
Abed was one of two cricketers of colour – the other was the outstanding left-arm spinner, Owen Williams – who were approached by the South African Cricket Association to take part in their tour of Australia in the 1971-72 season that was subsequently cancelled through political pressure.
Both players declined the invitation.
CSA acting chief executive Thabang Moroe paid tribute to Abed: “On behalf of the CSA Family I extend our deepest condolences to his family, his friends and his many cricketing colleagues. He was an outstanding all-rounder who, like many before and after him, was denied the opportunity to play on the international stage that his talents merited.”
Cricket South Africa