Obituary: Hylton Ackerman
by Peter Martin

Player:HM Ackerman

DateLine: 2nd September 2009


Former Western Province captain Hylton Ackerman died in Cape Town Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009.


He was born on April 28th, 1947 in Springs and was 62 years old at the time of his death.


Ackerman, who was the father of former Test batsman HD Ackerman, was himself denied Test honours during South Africa’s isolation years. He was selected for the 1971/72 tour of Australia which was subsequently cancelled.


A five-match series of 'Tests' between a World team and Australia was instead played and Ackerman was chosen, along with Tony Greig and the Pollock brothers, Peter and Graeme, to tour Australia. Ackerman scored 112 in the first match of the series at Brisbane.


Ackerman loved telling the story about the time he was met at Adelaide by an elderly gentleman who helped carry his case. When asked whether he had anything to do with cricket, the gentleman replied: “Yes, the name's Bradman!”


An elegant left-hander with all the strokes, Ackerman captained Western Province for many years and later became a successful radio and TV commentator.


As a schoolboy at Dale College in King William’s Town, he made history when he became the youngest player ever at 13 years and eight months to play in the Nuffield Week (now the Khaya Majola Week). He set a record of playing for the Nuffield XI - the highest honour at that time a schoolboy cricketer could aspire to – for five years, 1962-66, becoming at 14 the youngest to gain the coveted cap.


At 17 he scored a century, 108, for Border against Mike Smith's England touring team in 1964-65 and scored another century, this time 128, against Bobby Simpson’s Australians in 1966-67 for a South Africa Invitation XI in Pietermaritzburg.


Ackerman later played County cricket for a number of seasons for Northamptonshire.


For many years Ackerman had suffered with kidney problems and was undergoing dialysis when he died.


His career record is excellent. He scored 12,219 runs in first-class cricket (average 32.49) with 20 centuries and 60 half-centuries. As a medium-pacer he captured 32 wickets (43.75) in an 18-year career.


(Article: Copyright © 2009 Peter Martin)


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