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Lefty Adam’s spin forgotten over time

While reams have been written about the likes of Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock, there are some like Lefty Adams who the world has probably never even heard of.

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2018 11:13 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
Lefty Adams,India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India
Lefty Adams is a former spin bowler who could not play for South Africa.(HT Photo)

In this country, a lot of cricket talent was lost when South Africa were suspended from international cricket – the whites couldn’t get a crack at their opponents from other countries as they were ostracised and the coloured couldn’t anyway represent the team due to the apartheid policy.

And while reams have been written about the likes of Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock, there are some like Lefty Adams who the world has probably never even heard of.

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Adams is known to be one of the best spinners the country has produced. The left-arm spinner famously got Graeme Pollock out in just two balls just before matches between racial teams were banned.

“I bowled one that went straight and he left. Then I bowled one that turned in sharply and it hit his stumps even as he tried to leave it,” the 79-year-old Adams recalls the dismissal that would be any left-arm spinner’s dream.

This was in 1960 when he was just 21. Soon the games between inter-racial teams too were banned and he could play only among his folks.

At first glance, Adams looks white due to Irish ancestry from one side. This is what the cops thought when they saw him playing in a ‘Super League’ game for blacks in 1971. “We were playing in Athelon, a neighbourhood of people of colour here in Cape Town. They asked me why was I playing among the coloured when I was white. They took me away and released me only after I showed them my ID.”

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Adams, who took over a 100 wickets for 15 seasons in domestic cricket and had participated in the 1976 protests over education, says he isn’t surprised with the way the Proteas have folded against spinners. “South African batsmen always struggle against spinners because of the mindset. Not that they can’t play spin. They have not been using their feet. We don’t go out of the crease, don’t walk down.”

First Published: Feb 25, 2018 09:03 IST