A true gentleman in everything he did

2014-09-19 00:00

LAST week, KwaZulu-Natal cricket, indeed cricket in South Africa, lost one of its most devoted servants, with the sudden death of SK (Satchidanandan) Reddy (80).

He was a cricket administrator of the highest order, responsible in striving for unification in the sport he loved above all others, valuing the ethics, principles and standards of the game. These were pillars of his own life and he remained a true gentleman in everything he did.

While his service to cricket is how he will be remembered, his youngest son, TS Reddy, a deputy head at Pinetown Boys’ High School, recalled the more personal side of his father and what it was like growing up with cricket always a talking point at home. “He was a teacher by profession and having played soccer for Northern Natal in the China Cup and being a 100 m sprinter, started his involvement in cricket at Springfield College of Education in Durban,” said Reddy.

“He made the then Natal B Indian team as a number three batsman and an agile second slip or gully fielder. He never bowled.”

Reddy only watched his father, who also turned out for Tulips, Royals and Clares — he was captain of the latter — in the twilight years of his playing days and remembers his father more as an administrator.

“He was involved wherever he could be and had an insatiable appetite for the game,” said Reddy. “My late mother knew she was a cricket widow as my father played cricket on his wedding day.

“He played for Tulips in Asherville and they were a player short. In the afternoon, after the wedding, some of his team-mates arrived and asked him to play.

“They wouldn’t take no for an answer so off he went.”

Throughout his life, SK’s philosophy was to bridge the gap in cricket, to make it a game for everyone, regardless of background or colour.

“He was a school principal and as much as he loved the game, he refused to go to Kingsmead and be restricted to a certain area where he could sit,” said Reddy. “He found it humiliating and he only set foot in the ground when unification became a reality.”

SK was on the SA selection panel when Peter van der Merwe was convenor and Peter Pollock was a fellow selector.

“He was a quiet man, but was never afraid to have his say, to make his point and give his views on something,” said Reddy. “In this regard, he was highly respected and he appreciated the protocol and correct procedures that needed to be followed in resolving conflict and reaching an amicable solution on something.”

On two overseas tours — to Pakistan in 1997 and England in 1998 — SK was team manager. “The England tour, where Devon Malcolm wiped us out with his 9-57 in one of the Tests, was the highlight of my father’s cricket career,” said Reddy.

“We lost the Test series but won the one-dayers and he always remembered that tour. In fact, we buried him in his tour blazer from that 1998 visit to England.”

Living at home with his father, Reddy was surrounded by things cricket.

“The TV was always on cricket, he never missed a meeting and he was an avid tie collector.

“There must be more than 200 ties he has, still in their plastic sleeves, neatly packed in his cupboard,” said Reddy.

SK watched every Test match he could, getting up at odd hours to watch, sleeping in the afternoons so he would never miss a ball.

“He also enjoyed boxing and would watch the fights from overseas. He had a great interest in the sport.”

SK will be remembered as a quiet, respected man. He was a true gentleman — the last of a dying breed.

A man with impeccable taste

More on SK Reddy

He considered cricket a gentleman’s game and therefore dressed appropriately, in collar and tie, whenever he attended matches.

When the dress code was relaxed and golf shirts were allowed in the Presidential suite at Kingsmead, he reluctantly conformed, but dressed up whenever he could.

He always stressed the importance of creating a balance between sport and education.

Reddy was an avid collector and reader of cricket books.

SK enjoyed batsmen who were technical — Donald Bradman, Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, Mark Waugh …

He appreciated the Test match as the pinnacle of the game.

He showed an interest in 50-over games, but was not a major fan of the 20-over format.

He was always keen to offer guidance and listen to people and could chat on any subject.

He was due to attend a CSA meeting last Saturday at the Wanderers. His funeral was postponed to Sunday to allow people from the meeting to fly to Durban to attend.

Achievements (among many)

• President of Natal Cricket Board (1984 to 1987).

• Proteas selector from (1991 to 1996).

• Director of KZN Cricket PTY.

• Honorary Life Vice President of KZNCU in 1999.

• Honorary Life Vice President of CSA.

• Gold Award from the KZN Premier’s office in 2002 for life-long contribution to sport.


“SK Reddy epitomised a gentleman and he had my respect.” — Ali Bacher.

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