David Murray, a wicketkeeper for the West Indies cricket team in the 1970s and 1980s, has died at age 72, Cricket West Indies said on Saturday.
Making his international debut in 1973, the Barbadian cricketer appeared in 19 tests, 10 one-day internationals and 114 first-class matches, according to Cricket West Indies. In the 1980s, he was considered one of the best wicketkeepers in the game.
Murray’s legacy was tainted, however, by his decision to take part in a “rebel tour” in South Africa in 1983. Murray, along with several of the West Indies’ other cricket greats, accepted payment to travel to the apartheid nation to play matches against South African teams despite the fact that South Africa was banned from international competition by the International Cricket Council, cricket’s global governing body.
West Indies Cricket’s Board of Control issued lifetime bans to those who traveled to South Africa. Murray’s decision left him and his teammates ostracized from the world of cricket and disgraced in their Caribbean nations, where they were viewed as sellouts.
In the years after the tour, Murray and his family faced being deported from Australia, where his wife gave birth to their baby daughter, for his role in the rebel tours. They were unwelcome back in the Caribbean, too, he told CNN in 2013.
“They didn’t want me to return,” Murray said. “Politics got into it.”
In a statement offering condolences, CWI President Ricky Skerritt addressed Murray’s legacy but made no mention of the ban or the ensuing controversy that surrounded Murray’s career.
“He will be remembered as a member of the great West Indies squad which dominated world cricket for over a decade,” Skerritt said. “David was a gifted wicket-keeper and a stylish middle-order batsman. He loved the game of cricket, and played with a smile on his face.”
Murray was also part of a family legacy of cricket greatness. His father was legendary West Indies batsman Sir Everton Weekes and Murray’s son, Ricky Hoyte, became a successful cricketer as well, representing Barbados and West Indies’ ‘A’ Team as a wicketkeeper and batsman, according to Cricket West Indies.
“On behalf of Cricket West Indies, I want to offer my sincere condolences to Ricky, and other members of David’s family and friends,” Skerritt said in his statement.