Sulaiman ‘Dik’ Abed in full cry. Photo:

CAPE TOWN – South African cricket has lost one of its greatest sons, with Sulaiman “Dik” Abed passing away in Holland at the age of 73 on Friday.

The youngest of the five sport-loving Abed brothers – Babu, Tiny, Goolam and Lobo were the others – Dik had the game running through his veins.

He was a dashing all-rounder that bowled at a lively pace, whose trademark delivery was his famed leg-cutter that allowed him to claim hundreds of wickets.

Two of his brothers, Gesant ‘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.

Abed played for the non-racial Western Province Cricket Board during the 1960s in the Dadabhay Trophy, before pursuing a career at Enfield CC in England’s Lancashire Leagues.

It was during the same era that former South African cricketer and England all-rounder D’Oliveira played.

Abed played in the Lancashire Leagues for over three decades, and twice (1970 and 1972) won the Frank Worrell Trophy for being the leading run-scorer.

Enfield CC ultimately honoured Abed in 1988 as an “all-time great” ahead of West Indian stars such as Sir Clyde Walcott and Conrad Hunte and India’s Madan Lal for his contribution to the club.

Due to apartheid, the Bo-Kaap-born cricketer never had the distinction of representing his country in Test cricket, although he – along with Owen Williams – was nominated by South African Cricket Association chairman Jack Cheetham to tour Australia with the Springboks in 1971-72.

Although the tour was later called off due to political pressure, Abed and Williams “made it clear that we were not prepared to be used for window-dressing purposes”.

Abed finally tasted some international cricket action when he represented his adopted country The Netherlands long after his “retirement” in the 1982 ICC Trophy in England.

“One of our all-time greats. He competed with the best in the leagues, and outshone them. Played the game very hard, but always fair,” said former teammate Sedick Conrad, who played alongside Abed in the D’Oliveira XI against the Western Province Cricket Board Invitation XI at Green Point in 1967.

Former South African Cricket Board all-rounder and Proteas convenor of selectors Rushdie Magiet also paid tribute to Abed. 

“He was one of our best all-rounders. What a pity that he was never awarded a county contract. 

“He took five wickets and scored a 100 in a trial match, but everything was still so hot around Basil and everything that went on with him and England that the counties were afraid to take a chance on another black player at the time.

“He was an excellent bowler and he will be missed,” Magiet said. 


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