South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and as one of the earliest cricket and most successful playing countries, South African cricket has also had its fair share of controversies. Until the mid-1960s, the South Africa national cricket team continued to play regularly and without undue difficulty against Australia, England and New Zealand. In 1968, South African government refused to allow a tour by England whose team included Basil D'Oliveira, a Coloured player.
This lead to the ICC voting to suspend South Africa from international cricket indefinitely because of its government's policy of apartheid, an overtly racist policy.
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.
South Africa has a record of failing to win major tournaments and is much-maligned because of this. Even though they have been the strongest contenders for winning the World Cup in all the editions that they have taken part in, victory has always eluded them - resulting in them often being referred to as chokers. A draconian rain-rule, put them out of the World Cup in 1992 during the semi-final stage, a match against England they were on course to win. A superlative innings from Brian Lara ended their campaign in the 1996 edition at the quarterfinal stage itself. The 1999 World Cup semi-final saw the most dramatic and heart breaking of scenes when they lost their last wicket to a run out with just one run needed to qualify for the finals.
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. The fortunes of the team however did not change much as they lost in the semi-finals of the 2007 event against a strong Australian side, and once again choked during the 2012 semi-finals, when they were cantering towards victory.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.
Even though they have not been able to justify their billing in the ODI World Cups, South Africa remain a major force in the Test format. They are the only team to regularly win in the sub-continent, a waterloo for most teams. They reached number one in the ICC Test Ranking in August 2009, but could hold onto the position for four months only.
The greatest players to have represented South Africa are Ali Bacher, Graeme Pollock, Peter Pollock, Mike Procter, Barry Richards, Allan Donald, Clive Rice, Gary Kirsten, Jonty Rhodes, Fanie De Villiers, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Mark Boucher, Hashim Amla, AB De Villiers, Morne Morkel, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Graeme Smith.