South Africa was reinstated as a test country by the ICC in 1991. South Africa conducted its first One Day International (ODI) match with India on 10 November 1991 in Calcutta, playing its first approved international match since 1970. However, after re-entry, their first test match was in April 1992 in Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies. On 28 August 2021, South Africa became the first team to reach the top of the ICC rankings in all three game formats. Let's take a look at the top 10 people who have been active in South African cricket.
1. Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis has 13,289 test runs at an average of 55.37 and 11,589 ODI runs at 44.36. In addition, he has 292 test wickets in 272 innings and 273 ODI wickets in 283 innings. When viewing his statistics, he is genuinely one of the most successful South African cricket players. He is known as one of the greatest cricket all-rounders in the world. Jacques Kallis' high batting average has made him one of the most powerful and capable cricketers of all time. Jacques Kallis' fielding was so perfect that he has almost never missed a catch.
2. Graeme Pollock
The best left-handed hitter, along with Garry Sobers, Graeme Pollock was undoubtedly one of the best players in cricket. His batting average of 60.97 on tests is evidence of his batting average, scoring 1850 runs in 41 innings. As South Africa was suffering from apartheid, the cricket team was banned by the international boards. As a result, his career was shortened, and unfortunately, he played only 23 tests. Even though he had a short career, he won numerous awards and in 1966 was also named in Wisden’s Cricketers Year of the Year and has also been called "South Africa's Player of the 20th Century".
3. Shaun Pollock
Coming from a legendary cricket family, Shaun Pollock, is one of the best all-around players South Africa has ever witnessed.
A career lasting over 12 years, Junior Pollock was one of the rare true all-rounders in world cricket who could perform equally well on both bat and ball. His statistics are proof of that. With over 3500 home runs and over 800 wickets in both formats, Pollock is one of the greatest who played this game.
4. Hugh Tayfield
In a country where there are rare high-quality spin bowlers, Hugh Tayfield remains an exception. He had perfect accuracy and control of his bowling, he is considered one of the best off-spinners in the test and by 2008, he was the fastest wicket-taker in his country to reach the top 100 positions in the trial. An average of 25.91 and an astonishing economy rate of 1.94 shows the quality of Tayfield in off-spin bowling. In 1956-57, he took nine wickets in Johannesburg and he bowled 35 overs non-stop. In a previous test in the same series, he bowled 137 consecutive dot balls.
5. Dale Steyn
Dale Steyn has been the most consistent South African player for over a decade. He is one of the greatest South African bowlers and is recognized for his fast bowling in cricket. He has 417 wickets in 85 tests, with an average of 22.30, which makes him the most valuable player in South Africa. The strike rate of 41.4 with over 100 test wickets describes his achievements through his pace bowling technique.
6. Dudley Nourse
40-year-old Dudley Nourse batted for nine hours with a broken right thumb in a 1951 match against England in Nottingham. While batting for nine hours, he had terrible pain but had a good fighting spirit, this resulted in South Africa's first test victory in 16 years. He also scored the first double hundred by a South African against England. Nourse scored 2960 runs in 34 tests by hitting nine test hundreds. His average of 53.81 reflects his striking ability and he was also the captain of the national team from 1948 to 1951.
7. Allan Donald
One of South Africa’s most successful pace bowlers to play the game, Allan Donald, made his test debut against West Indies in 1992. Allan Donald played 72 tests between 1992 and 2002, with an average of 22.25 and 330 wickets. He has 20 test wickets, and 2 ODI 5 wicket holds. Allan Donald is South Africa's second-highest ODI player, playing 164 ODI games between 1991 and 2003, with an average of 21.78.
8. Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla, one of the most respected cricketers of our time, is one of South Africa's greatest Test cricket players. Known for his flawless patience, Amla has more than 8000 test runs with 26 hundred and is the first batsman to reach a three-digit number. He scored 490 runs in 3 innings (253 *, 114, 123 *) against India in 2010, leading South Africa to draw the series. In 2012 he scored 311* in his first test against England. His century in the third test made it easy for South Africa to dominate the Series 2-0 and reach the top ICC test rankings.
9. Mark Boucher
When Mark Boucher retired from test cricket in 2012 due to misfortune and a freak injury to his right eye, he had played around 555 test dismissals, a world record for a single player. He is also regarded as one of the most excellent wicket-keeper’s cricket has ever seen. Boucher remained South Africa's # 1 Wicketkeeper for many years, and he is the only one to record more than 500 catches in Tests. His average of 30.30 in the 147 tests proves the fact that he was good at batting too.
10. Aubrey Faulkner
Aubrey Faulkner was arguably one of the best all-rounders in Test cricket, with a batting average of 40.79 and a bowling average of 26.58 in the test. However, his career had only 25tests. In 1910-11, he played against Australia with a unique double hundred in Melbourne, and his bowling in Leeds against England in the third test ended with six wickets in 17 runs. His leg-break bowling style included googly, a unique weapon of that era.
Faulkner was one of the first leg spinners to use googly correctly. However, Faulkner’s most outstanding achievement was in 1921 when he scored 153 runs and then took six wickets against Australia.