South Africa national cricket team

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South Africa
South Africa cricket crest
South Africa cricket crest
Test status acquired 1889
Test and ODI Captain AB de Villiers
T20I Captain Faf du Plessis
Coach Russell Domingo
ICC Rankings Current [1] Best-ever
Test Matches
First Test v  England at Crusaders Ground, Port Elizabeth, 12–13 March 1889
Tests Played Won/Lost
Total [2] 400 145/134
This year 3 1/1
Last Test v  England at SuperSport Park, Centurion; 22–26 January 2016
One-Day Internationals
ODIs Played Won/Lost
Total [3] 561 345/194
Last ODI v  Australia 12 October 2016
World Cup Appearances 6 (first in 1992)
Best result Semi-final
T20 Internationals
World Twenty20 Appearances 6 (first in 2007)
Best result Semi-final
As of 3 October 2016

The South African national cricket team, nicknamed the Proteas (after South Africa's national flower, the king protea), represents South Africa in international cricket. It is administered by Cricket South Africa. South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test and One Day International (ODI) status.

As of 26 January 2016, South Africa has played 400 Test matches, winning 145 and losing 134.[4] The team has played 547 ODIs, winning 337, losing 189 and tying six, with 15 no-results.[5] Finally, it has played 82 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), winning 49 and losing 32, with one no-result.[6]

On 20 August 2012, South Africa became the top ranked team in test cricket for the first time. 8 days later, on 28 August 2012, it became the first team to top the rankings in all three formats of the game.[7]

South Africa is currently ranked fifth in Tests, second in ODIs and third in T20Is by the ICC.[8]


The South African cricket team toured England in 1947. At Trent Bridge, Captain Alan Melville and vice-captain, Dudley Nourse achieved a Test match record for a third wicket partnership of 319. The following year Nourse, 38-year-old captain of Natal, was appointed Captain for the 1948 MCC Test matches in South Africa.[9]

In 1970, the ICC voted to suspend South Africa from international cricket indefinitely because of its government's policy of apartheid, a policy which led them to play only against the white nations (England, Australia, New Zealand), and field only white players. This decision excluded players such as Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards and Mike Procter from partaking in international Test Cricket. It would also cause the emigration of future stars like, Basil D'Oliveira, Allan Lamb and Robin Smith, who both played for England, and Kepler Wessels, who initially played for Australia, before returning to South Africa. World class cricketers of their day like Clive Rice, Vintcent van der Bijl also never played Test Cricket despite their first class records.

The South African team at The Oval in August 2008.

The ICC reinstated South Africa as a Test nation in 1991 after the deconstruction of apartheid, and the team played its first sanctioned match since 1970 (and its first ever One-Day International) against India in Calcutta on 10 November 1991. South Africa's first test match after re-admission was against the West Indies in April 1992. The match was played in Bridgetown, Barbados and South Africa lost by 52 runs.

Since South Africa have been reinstated they have achieved mixed success, and hosted the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup in 2003. However, it is widely believed[10] the sides containing the likes of Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Gary Kirsten and Hansie Cronje grossly underachieved, gaining a reputation as "chokers", due to them reaching the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup four times, but failing to progress into the finals. In the second part of the 1990s, South Africa had the highest winning percentage in ODIs of any team, but they were knocked out of the 1996 World Cup in the quarter-finals, and then were eliminated on countback after tying their semi-final against Australia in 1999. In 2003, South Africa were one of the favourites but were eliminated by one run in the group stages after they had mistakenly counted the number of runs they needed.

They have also had bad press for failing in vital matches in global tournaments including the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.[11]

With Donald retiring, Cronje banned for match-fixing and later killed in a plane crash, and Pollock also retiring from international cricket, the team once again changed shape. Graeme Smith was made captain, although following injuries to Smith and Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince deputised as Test captain on 12 July 2006. At the age of 29, he became the first non-white man to captain the once all-white South African cricket team. Due to a racial quota policy, the side was once required to contain black players, unlike the past. However, that policy was rescinded in 2007.[12]

With the addition of class players such as AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, the South African Cricket team started rising in the ICC rankings. After many of the major players in the Australian side that had dominated the early 2000s had retired, the number one place in the ICC Test Championship was a wide open race, with India and England having short stints as the number one side. South Africa toured England in 2012 for a three Test series with the winner assured of being the world No. 1. South Africa went on to take the series comfortably 2–0 and claim the top spot in the rankings, a position they have held onto for over a full calendar year.[13]

In February 2014 South Africa took on Australia in a Test series, with the winner being ranked No. 1 team in the world. Australia won the series 2-1.[14] South Africa later in the year would regain the No. 1 ranking. As of 20th of March 2016 South Africa are ranked 3rd in Test Cricket.[15]

During this time of dominance in the Test arena, the ODI and T20I performances were far less consistent, as South Africa search for a winning formula ahead of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. A notable ODI series loss to New Zealand at home in January 2013, and a further loss in Sri Lanka highlighted South Africa's recent difficulties. Exits from the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy only served to improve South Africa's reputation as 'chokers' in major tournaments. In the latter years of Smith's career, South Africa split the captaincy in the shorter forms of the game, with the ODI side being led by AB de Villiers and the T20I side by Faf du Plessis. After Smith's retirement, Hashim Amla was appointed captain of the test side, leading his side to victory in his first test in charge, in Galle in Sri Lanka.

Choking reputation[edit]

The South African cricket team has gained a reputation as a frequent choker at global cricket tournaments conducted by the International Cricket Council. Despite being consistently one of the best-performing nations in all forms of cricket since its return from isolation, the Proteas have never progressed beyond the semi-final stage at a World Cup. This reputation was further cemented by the fact that South Africa had never won a game during the knock-out stage of the World Cup; a record which was broken in the quarter-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, when they won against highly rated Sri Lanka.[16][17]

This reputation arises largely from two events:

  1. In the 1999 Super Six Stage, Herschelle Gibbs dropped eventual centurion Steve Waugh after which Australia went on to win the match,[18] then a shambolic run-out involving Allan Donald and Lance Klusener in the semi-final also against Australia ended South Africa's second innings with the scores tied. Australia progressed on the basis of its superior run rate through the tournament.
  2. In the Proteas' final game of Cricket World Cup 2003's group stage (which was effectively a knock-out match, as they had to win to progress to the Super Six), South Africa tied the rain-affected game against Sri Lanka which they could have won, after they misinterpreted the Duckworth-Lewis rain rule tables shortly before the match was called off.

In addition to surrendering commanding positions in the above matches, South Africa suffered upset losses against the West Indies in 1996 and New Zealand in 2011.[19] South Africa's win in the 1998 ICC KnockOut Trophy remains their only international tournament victory to date. In the 2015 World Cup semi-finals against New Zealand, the South Africans batted first, however as a result of a rain interruption the game was halted. New Zealand who were set a Duckworth-Lewis score of 298, chased it down. South Africa lost the game marginally as they missed two run outs and two catches. The match was won for New Zealand by South African-born Grant Elliott, who hit the penultimate ball of the game for six.


South Africa has a record of failing to win major tournaments and is much-maligned because of this. The 1992 Cricket World Cup, for example, featured a rain-affected semi-final played before the introduction of the Duckworth-Lewis rain rule. South Africa needed 22 runs from 13 balls when rain intervened. After the delay they were left in the situation of requiring 22 runs from one ball to progress. In 1996 they were eliminated in the quarter-finals despite being one of the fancied teams and having qualified first in their group.

South Africa hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup, but failed to progress beyond the group stage due to a misunderstanding of how many runs they needed to score in a rain-affected run chase. As a result of this, Shaun Pollock resigned as captain and was replaced by young batsman Graeme Smith, although Pollock continued to play for the team. Under Smith's leadership, South Africa has achieved some success, although they have been hampered by the retirements of many star players, including fast bowler Allan Donald and one-day specialist Jonty Rhodes. As a result, they had a poor 2004, only winning against the West Indies.

In the 2007 World Cup they had a rollercoaster ride that included dominant wins over England, the West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland, and a narrow win over Sri Lanka, but devastating losses to Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh that cost them the No. 1 ranking. Then they bowed out in the semi-finals with their lowest ever score in a World Cup as Australia bowled them out for 149 and won by 7 wickets.

In the 2011 World Cup, South Africa topped Group B with the distinction of bowling out every side they played within the 50 over limit. In the quarter final they were beaten by New Zealand after suffering a dramatic collapse and losing eight wickets for 68 runs. They also hold the record of the highest successful run chase and made the highest total (the latter record has been surpassed) in One-Day Internationals (438–9 in 49.5 overs), in an iconic match against Australia on 12 March 2006. This game is considered by many to be the greatest One-Day International ever played.

South Africa beat Netherlands by 231 runs in Mohali in Group matches in ICC World Cup 2011, The 231-run win is the fourth largest margin of victory for any team in World Cups and the largest for South Africa in World Cups. It is also the second largest margin of victory for South Africa in ODIs on 3 March 2011.[20] The 87-run stand between JP Duminy and Colin Ingram is the highest for the sixth wicket for South Africa in World Cups. The highest sixth-wicket stand for South Africa in ODIs is the 137 between Hansie Cronje and Shaun Pollock against Zimbabwe in 1997. The triumph is South Africa's seventh by a fringe of hundred or more runs in World Cups.[21]

International grounds[edit]

Locations of all stadiums which have hosted an international cricket match within South Africa

Tournament history[edit]

World Cup[edit]

Year Group ¼ Finals ½ Finals Finals
1992  ENG
1996  WIN
1999  AUS
2007  AUS
2011  NZ
2015  NZ

For World Cups from 1975 to 1987 inclusive, South Africa was not an ICC member, and therefore ineligible to compete in the tournament.

ICC World Twenty20[edit]

Year Super 8/10 ½ Finals Finals
2009  PAK
2014  Ind

ICC Champions Trophy[edit]

Year Group ½ Finals Finals
1998 Winner
2000  Ind
2002  Ind
2006  WIN
2013  ENG

Commonwealth Games[edit]


This is a list of every player to have played for South Africa in the last year, and the forms of the game in which they have played. Alviro Petersen has played for the national side in that period, but has since retired from international cricket.

For the 2015–16 season Cricket South Africa awarded 17 players contracts to the national side from which selectors choose the core of the Test, One-Day and Twenty20 International teams.[22] Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ryan McLaren were included on this list, despite not playing for the national side since March and November 2014 respectively. 12 players were awarded High Performance contracts, given to those on the fringes of the national side who have potential to develop. Beuran Hendricks who has not played for the national side since April 2014 respectively, and the uncapped Mangaliso Mosehle, Mthokozisi Shezi and Khaya Zondo were included on the list. Non-contracted players remain eligible for selection and can be upgraded to a Cricket South Africa contract if they gain regular selection. The players contracted are shown in bold.

Name Age Batting style Bowling style Domestic team Forms S/N Contract Notes
Hashim Amla 33 Right-handed Right-arm medium Cape Cobras Test, ODI, T20I 1 National
Faf du Plessis 32 Right-handed Right-arm leg break Titans Test, ODI, T20I 18 National T20I Captain
Temba Bavuma 26 Right-handed Right-arm medium Lions Test High Performance
Dean Elgar 29 Left-handed Left arm orthodox Knights Test, ODI National
Reeza Hendricks 27 Right-handed Right-arm medium Cape Cobras T20I High Performance
David Miller 27 Left-handed Right-arm off break Dolphins ODI, T20I 10 National
Justin Ontong 36 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Cape Cobras T20I
Rilee Rossouw 27 Left-handed Right-arm off break Knights ODI, T20I 27 High Performance
Stiaan van Zyl 29 Left-handed Right-arm medium Knights Test High Performance
AB de Villiers 32 Right-handed Right-arm medium Titans Test, ODI, T20I 17 National ODI & Test Captain
Quinton de Kock 23 Left-handed Lions Test, ODI, T20I 12 National
Morné van Wyk 37 Right-handed Dolphins T20I
Dane Vilas 31 Right-handed Cape Cobras Test
All rounders
Farhaan Behardien 33 Right-handed Right-arm medium Titans ODI, T20I 28 High Performance
JP Duminy 32 Left-handed Right-arm off break Cape Cobras Test, ODI, T20I 21 National
Albie Morkel 35 Left-handed Right-arm medium-fast Titans T20I 81
David Wiese 31 Right-handed Right-arm medium-fast Titans ODI, T20I 96
Pace Bowlers
Kyle Abbott 29 Right-handed Right-arm fast–medium Dolphins Test, ODI, T20I 87 National
Marchant de Lange 26 Right-handed Right-arm fast Titans ODI, T20I
Morné Morkel 32 Left-handed Right-arm fast Titans Test, ODI, T20I 65 National
Chris Morris 29 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Titans Test, ODI, T20I 2
Wayne Parnell 27 Left-handed Left-arm medium-fast Warriors ODI, T20I 7 National
Vernon Philander 31 Right-handed Right-arm fast–medium Cape Cobras Test, ODI 24 National
Kagiso Rabada 21 Left-handed Right-arm fast Lions Test, ODI, T20I 25 National
Dale Steyn 33 Right-handed Right-arm fast Cape Cobras Test, ODI 8 National
Spin Bowlers
Simon Harmer 27 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Warriors Test High Performance
Eddie Leie 29 Right-handed Right-arm leg break Lions T20I High Performance
Dane Piedt 26 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Cape Cobras Test High Performance
Aaron Phangiso 32 Right-handed Left arm orthodox Lions ODI, T20I 69 National
Imran Tahir 37 Right-handed Right-arm leg break Lions Test, ODI, T20I 99 National

Former and current players[edit]

For a list of Test players, see List of South Africa Test cricketers.
For a list of ODI players, see List of South Africa ODI cricketers.
For a list of Twenty20 International players, see List of South Africa Twenty20 International cricketers.

National captains[edit]

For a list of national captains, see List of South Africa national cricket captains.

Coaching staff[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ICC Rankings". 
  2. ^ "Test matches - Team records". 
  3. ^ "ODI matches - Team records". 
  4. ^ "Records / South Africa / Test matches / Result summary". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Records / South Africa / One-Day Internationals / Result summary". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Records / South Africa / Twenty20 Internationals / Result summary". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  7. ^ McGlashan, Andrew (28 August 2012). "Amla ton leads SA to third No. 1 spot". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "ICC rankings – ICC Test, ODI and Twenty20 rankings". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  9. ^ The Times, 27 October 1948, Cricket South Africa's Captain
  10. ^ Champions Trophy 2013: England (underachievers) v South Africa (chokers) battle to lose tags
  11. ^ South Africa choke on their lines again Hugh Chevallier in Durban 20 September 2007 Cricinfo
  12. ^ South Africa Remove Racial Quotas 7 November 2007 BBC Sport
  13. ^ ICC Rankings 17 October 2013 ESPN Cricinfo
  14. ^ "Results | South Africa v Australia | ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 
  15. ^ "ICC Test Match Team Rankings International Cricket Council". Retrieved 2016-03-20.  External link in |website= (help)
  16. ^ Monga, Sidharth (18 March 2015). "Pumped-up South Africa end knockout hoodoo". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Sarkar, Pritha (25 March 2011). "Cricket – New Zealand beat South Africa to reach World Cup semis". Reuters. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  18. ^ Bull, Andy (14 June 2011). "'You've just dropped the World Cup' – Australia v South Africa 12 years on". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  19. ^ Bull, Andy (25 March 2011). "Deja vu all over again as South Africa choke and exit the World Cup". London. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Netherlands vs South Africa, ICC World Cup 2011". 
  21. ^ "South Africa vs Ireland, ICC World Cup 2011". 
  22. ^ "CSA awards three new national contracts and three new High Performance contracts". Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  23. ^ "South Africa call on England's nemesis". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 

External links[edit]