Cricket in South Africa took at least an amazing 150 years before the country started playing the game as it does today. One of the few countries in the continent of Africa who plays cricket, South Africa has certainly come a long, long way!

The game was originally introduced in the country in the early 19th century by British troops. Slowly but surely the popularity grew to enormous proportions. The people adopted it as a popular sport as well as a passion. It was then in the year 1888-89, the first English side visited. The game was by that time established in several centers. The year was of marked importance. And more so because of the Currie Cup - the main domestic championship was introduced the following year.

Yet, South Africa suffered a sad fate. Its system was still rotting in the grip of apartheid, racism and exploitation. It is unbelievable that in the wake of a modern, liberal world, the country was suffering the repercussions of such maladies even in the year 1970. South Africa was cut
off from most of its traditional international competition because of its racial separation policies. This sorry state of affairs continued for the larger part of the decade.

However, the year 1977 brought in a fresh change. Cricket history saw the fusion of the three national bodies into the South African Cricket Union. This was followed by an official announcement of the game becoming non-racial. Yet, peace was still far away. The controversies continued. And unfortunately, so did the official ban.

Finally, in 1991, the ICC reinstated South Africa. Even though, South Africa's First Test was played against England on March 12, 1889, the country's first One day International was played only recently against India at Calcutta on November 10th, 1991. India won the match by 3 wickets. South Africa has yet to do itself proud by winning the World cup. Its highest Test score, although is fairly impressive - a 622 against Australia on February 5th, 1970.

The country has made the most of its cricketing years. That can well be gauged by its statistics. The Test cricket records are however low. Of the 242 Test matches played, it has lost 91 and won 70, with a strike rate of 45.66. But, South Africa has won 122 of its 197 ODI's played. Let's hope that the recent Cronje scam does not demoralize the team too much.

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