South African Cricketers (20 april 1901)
Conan Doyle protested against South African cricketers that should fight the invader in their country rather than play cricket.
See also his second letter on the same topic: South African Cricketers (4 may 1901).
South African Cricketers
Sir, — It is announced that a South African cricket team is about to visit this country. The statement would be incredible were it not that the names are published, and the date of sailing fixed. It is to be earnestly hoped that such a team will meet a very cold reception in this country, and that English cricketers will refuse to meet them. When our young men are going from North to South to fight for the cause of South Africa, these South Africans are coming from South to North to play cricket. It is a stain on their manhood that they are not out with rifles in their hands driving the invader from their country. They leave this to others while they play games. There may be some question even in England whether the national game has justified itself during this crisis, and whether cricketers have shown that they understood that the only excuse for a game is that it keeps a man fit for the serious duties of life. There can be no question, however, that this South African visit would be a scandal. I trust that even now it may be averted. — I am, Sir, &c.,
A. Conan Doyle
Undershaw, Hindhead, Haslemere.
[Unless there are some circumstances unknown to us which put an entirely different complexion on the proposal against which Dr. Doyle protests, we heartily endorse his protest. The British South Africans have come forward so well and done such excellent service in the field that any representatives of them in the cricket field will be sure to be most heartily welcomed when the war is over. But the time for South African cricket has not come yet. The men who held Wepener for the Empire showed us that the South African British could stand up to any team in the world in something much nobler and better than cricket. - Ed. Spectator.]