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.