Former West Indies allrounder Richard Austin has died in hospital, aged 60. Austin won three caps for his country but was ostracised after participating in the 1982-83 rebel tour to South Africa, which led to him becoming homeless and developing a drug problem.
Austin, who was also a talented table-tennis player and good enough at football to represent Jamaica, was picked for two West Indies Tests against Australia in 1978, having made his ODI debut earlier on the same tour. He was dropped over signing for Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, prompting a walkout by West Indies’ players.
Although his form remained good, he was never recalled and a few years later was tempted to go to South Africa, despite the country’s isolation due to the apartheid regime – a tour which had far-reaching effects for those on it.
A batsman who could bowl medium-pace or offspin, Austin was for a time known as the “right-handed Sobers”. But his career was ended at the age of 29 by playing in South Africa and he was reduced to living off the streets in Kingston, addicted to cocaine, known to local children as “Danny Germs”.