All-time great Dik Abed will be sorely missed
by Mo Allie
Sulaiman ‘Dik’ Abed, one of South Africa’s greatest all-rounders passed away earlier today at the age of 74 in the Dutch capital The Hague.
He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease but succumbed to kidney failure.
Abed was the youngest of the famous Cape Town sporting family that saw older brothers achieve fame in different parts of the world.
Salie (Lobo), regarded by the late Basil d’Oliveira as the best wicket keeper in the world at the time, and Gasant ‘Tiny’ an all-rounder, represented the Sacboc national team on the tour to Kenya in 1958, while Goolam played rugby league for Leeds in England as well as cricket for Rochdale in the Lancashire League in the 1960s.
Dik, as he was fondly known because of his chubby frame as a kid, first represented the WP Cricket Board team at the centralised Dadbhay tournament in Port Elizabeth in 1963 as a 20-year-old.
His abilities as a seamer and aggressive batsman prompted Damoo Bansda, the journalist and part-time barman, who arranged for Dolly to move to England, to secure a contract for Abed with Enfield the following year.
Abed would stay with the club for ten seasons, reasoning that he had nothing to come back to in South Africa, although he did return to play for Western Province between 1969 and 1971.
During his ten years with Enfield, he achieved legendary status helping the club to the league title in 1968, their first in 25 years. During that season he took 120 wickets at an average or 8.76 and scored 458 runs at an average of 21.81.
Among his contemporaries in the league at the time were Australian internationals Graeme Watson, and Graeme Corling as well as Clive Lloyd, a close friend of Abed who would go on to captain the great West Indies teams of the 1970s and 80s.
During his time in the league, he also outperformed SACA players like Clive Rice, Peter Swart, Pat Trimborn and Dave Orchard.
Abed finished his career with Enfield in 1976 having taken 855 wickets at an average of 10.27 and scored 5271 runs at an average of 27.17.
Small wonder he was voted the club’s ‘All-Time Great’ ahead of West Indies legends Sir Clyde Walcott and Conrad Hunte as well as India all-rounder Madan Lal when the League’s 14 clubs were asked to make their nominations.
The political repercussions of the D’Oliveira affair closed the door on Abed being signed by an English county, many of whom were interested in his services.
He scored 127 and 38, both not out, for Surrey’s second XI and took 5/32 for Worcestershire’s Second XI but was still unable to secure a contract. He was told by Alan Oakman, Warwickshire coach at the time, that ‘the order not to sign him came from the top!’
With South Africa’s white cricketing establishment trying to escape the noose of isolation following the D’Oliveira affair in 1968, they cunningly tried to include Abed and left-arm spinner Owen Williams on the aborted tour of Australia in 1971 in an attempt to appease the burgeoning anti-apartheid lobby. Both players refused to tour ‘as baggage masters’.
Abed took up Dutch citizenship in the mid-1970s and captained the national team that played at the second ICC Trophy competition in England in 1982.