A talented all-rounder who represented England in Test cricket, Basil D'Oliveira is better remembered for his role in bringing down South Africa's apartheid regime than for his sporting prowess.
D'Oliveira was forced to move to England to play Test cricket
And now, at the age of 73 and confined to a nursing home with Parkinson's Disease, he has been awarded a CBE to go with his OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Had he begun his Test cricket career earlier, he might have set the record books rather than history books alight.
For D'Oliveira is not famous for his five Test centuries but for an affair which exposed the racist policies of his native country South Africa to the world.
It was his omission from an England touring party to South Africa in 1968 that led to the country's 25-year long sporting isolation, ending only with the fall of apartheid.
Basil Lewis D'Oliveira was born in Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa on 4 October 1931.
But being a mixed race South African during apartheid, he was prevented from playing top-class cricket.
In 1960, he left South Africa with his wife Naomi, to ply his craft for Middleton in the Lancashire Leagues in England.
Given the nickname Dolly, he impressed with his solid attacking batting style and gentle but tight medium pace bowling.
Test caps: 44
Test debut: v West Indies 1966
Last Test: v Australia 1972
Best (match): 5-62
Econ. rate: 1.95
He did not play his first full English season until 1965 when he found himself playing first-class cricket with county side Worcestershire.
He proved to be a key member of the team and the following year earned a call-up for the England squad.
On his debut against the West Indies in 1966, D'Oliveira was run out for 27 and produced bowling figures of 1-24 at Lord's but his reputation on the team soon grew with half-centuries in the next three matches.
Despite scoring 158 against Australia in the final Test of 1968, he was omitted from the party to tour South Africa, and many sensed politics were at play.
But he was then sensationally back in favour when a specialist seamer, Tom Cartwright, pulled out.
Upon hearing that D'Oliveira was originally from South Africa and he was of mixed race, the South African government made it clear he would not be welcome.
The tour was cancelled and the incident culminated in a ban on sporting ties with South Africa which would last until the early 1990s.
D'Oliveira played four more years for England - most notably as a member of Ray Illingworth's Ashes-winning team in 1970-71.
D'Oliveira played for Worcestershire until he was almost 50
After retiring from international cricket in 1972, he enjoyed a long, glorious Indian summer and was still topping the Worcestershire batting averages in 1977, aged nearly 46.
He continued to play occasionally for the club until he was 49 and became team coach when he retired, steering the county to two Championship victories in the 1990s.
Worcestershire and former England batsman Graeme Hick recalled: "He'd always keep his instructions very simple. I'd go talk to Basil and always come away feeling better."
D'Oliveira returned often to coach and play in South Africa's non-white leagues after his Test retirement, and his achievements were acknowledged in 2003 when South Africa hosted the World Cup.
He and the great South Africa batsman Graeme Pollock were the two cricketing giants invited out on to Newlands ground to take part in the opening ceremony.
In 2004, he was further honoured when it was decided the inaugural Basil D'Oliveira Trophy would be awarded to the winning team in all future Test series played in South Africa between the host side and England.
More recognition was to come a year later when he was awarded his CBE having already received an OBE in 1969.