Due to his long blond hair, Hanley was known as Spook, Afrikaans for ghost. Hanley was a fast medium bowler whose career coincided with South Africa's ban on international cricket. In 1974 he played for the Derek Robins XI in England against Pakistan, taking 5/52 in the first innings. Other South Africans in the team were, Barry Richards, who scored a century, Tich Smith, Peter Swart and Clive Rice. In South Africa, Hanley played for various Currie Cup teams from 1971 to 1986. He played for South Africa in 2 unofficial "Tests" and 6 Limited overs matches in 1984, taking a hat-trick at the Wanderers Stadium and 14 wickets in total.
In England he played for Northamptonshire during the 1984 season, representing the county against the West Indies, and taking 3/27 in the first innings. David Doyle, a peer of Graeme Pollock and one of South Africa's premier batsmen of the era rated Hanley one of the greatest bowlers he faced.
Hanley is also an accomplished artist.
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