Sulaiman ‘Dik’ Abed, the prolific South African allrounder who went on to captain Netherlands in the 1980s, died on Friday in the Netherlands aged 73.
He was the youngest of five brothers, all of whom were talented sportsmen. But their careers coincided with Apartheid, as a result of which he never got to play for South Africa. The South African Cricket Association (SACA) did ask Abed and another player of colour, the left-arm spinner Owen Williams, to join the team for a tour of Australia in 1971-72 but the government refused to let them go. In any case, both of them declined the offer, and the entire tour fell by the wayside.
Abed, known as a capable batsman and a fast bowler with a fine legcutter, gained a lot of his acclaim playing in the Lancashire League in England, scoring more than 5000 runs and taking over 800 wickets over a 10-year period from 1967 to 1976. At home, he represented the Western Province Cricket Board with great distinction.
Abed eventually settled in the Netherlands and led the team in the ICC Trophy in England in 1982. He also attended several trials with English counties but never got the opportunity to play first-class cricket.
CSA’s 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.”