I was sorry to read in December’s Wisden Cricketer that Hylton Ackerman had died, having been ill for some time. He was a hard-hitting South African opening batsman who played for Northamptonshire for several years in the late sixties and early seventies.
I met him in 2001, when he coached the South African under-19 team on a tour of New Zealand, the last part of which I covered for CricInfo. A deluge washed out the second and third days of the third “test”, at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. A family of ducks vacated their pond and took up residence at deep extra cover, I recall.
Ackerman chatted with us over those two days when there was nothing else to do, and I turned these conversations into a feature, of which he heartily approved, asking for a printed version to take home with him:
He was a nice man who cared about cricket, his young charges (who included Hashim Amla), and about making the new South Africa work. It was a pleasure to have met him.