Farewell to one of cricket’s finest administrators Brian Basson

Leading South African cricket administrator Brian Basson passed away on Friday
Leading South African cricket administrator Brian Basson passed away on Friday
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Father Time removed the bails of Brian Basson’s wicket on Friday evening, bringing to a close the life of one of South African cricket’s most respected administrators.

Known as former United Cricket Board of SA chief executive Ali Bacher’s right-hand man, Basson died after a long battle against cancer.

He was 76 and just days away from celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary in Port Elizabeth with his wife, Pam.

His memory, though, will live on in those who worked with him as an umpire, match referee or administrator until his retirement in 2010 from his position of Cricket South Africa’s general manager, cricket operations.

Basson never left anything to chance as an administrator of bylaws and playing conditions.

Meticulous, super-efficient, unassuming and humble were words Bacher used to describe him, saying that, in his field, he had no equal in world cricket.

He almost single-handedly changed the face of umpiring in SA and also formalised the playing conditions for the first international in which television replay technology was used between SA and India.

He represented the UCBSA on the ICC cricket committee and was also invited by the MCC to serve on the committee tasked to rewrite the laws of cricket in 2000.

He rewrote the ICC standard playing conditions and was appointed by Bacher as the technical director of the 2003 Cricket World Cup in SA, on which he spent hundreds of hours compiling the itinerary.Bacher, 77, spoke fondly of his old friend.

“Even after both he and I retired from cricket admin we remained in constant contact.

“We were good friends and had a fantastic relationship,” Bacher said on Sunday.

“He was outstanding as an administrator and committed to cricket. He was passionate about cricket and worked at it seven days a week.

“He was meticulous and a perfectionist and I never saw him lose his cool.

“He was extraordinary. We’ve lost an incredible administrator.”

Basson was educated at Graeme College in Grahamstown and studied civil engineering.

In 1970, he retired from playing club cricket and joined the Eastern Province Cricket Umpires’ Association.

He made his first-class debut in a match between Eastern Province B and Orange Free State in 1977. He went on to stand in 15 first-class matches before being elected president of the EP Cricket Umpires’ Association in 1987.

He became vice-president of the South African Umpires’ Association the following year, and then president in 1991, a position he retained until 1996.

He then took on a full-time position as director of umpiring with UCBSA.He initially retired from his post in June 2008, but CSA retained his services as a consultant for a further two years.

CSA also paid tribute to Basson: “It is with great sadness that we have heard of the passing of Brian,” chief executive Thabang Moroe said.

“He will always be remembered for the work he did in charge of our cricket operations after earlier being a highly respected umpire and match referee.

“On behalf of the CSA family I extend our deepest sympathy to his family, his friends and his colleagues in the cricket community.”

Basson is survived by his wife Pam, daughters Monique and Nicole, and granddaughters Caitlin and Hannah.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday at 3pm at St Saviour’s Church, Villiers Road, Walmer.