The South African cricket team, also known as 'The Proteas' is administrated by Cricket South Africa. South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council with Test and one-day international status. Cricket in South Africa was established by the British, and the first tour by a side from England took place in 1888-89. South Africa played its first Test match (against a touring England side at Port Elizabeth), becoming the third Test nation.
However, in 1970, the ICC voted to suspend the team from international cricket indefinitely because of its government's policy of apartheid, an overtly racist 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 stalwart Graeme Pollock from partaking in international Test Cricket. Such a move caused the exodus of bright future prospects like Allan Lamb and Robin Smith, who both played for England, and Kepler Wessels, who initially played for Australia, before returning to South Africa. The team was reinstated in 1991 as a Test nation after the deconstruction of apartheid, and the team played its first official match since 1970 (and its first-ever ODI) against India in 1991. Since the reinstatement, the Proteas have had mixed success. Even when the team has been considered to be a favourite to win big tournaments, good fortune deserts it.
The match-fixing scandal that shook the cricketing fraternity got momentum from Hansie Cronje's claims. With his mysterious death in a plane crash, a chapter in South African cricket closed.
The South African cricket has produced many greats. Jacques Kallis possibly is the best ever to represent them, while in Graeme Smith, they had a leader who was very instrumental in putting them on top, particularly in Test cricket. To add to that, the likes of Allan Donald, Daryll Cullinan, Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla etc also contributed massively to their success.
The team has reached the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup three times but has failed to progress into the finals, with Herschelle Gibbs famously dropping Australian captain Steve Waugh in 1999 in a round-robin game. They performed well in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, until New Zealand beat them in the quarterfinals, unfortunately ending their World Cup campaign.
The Proteas were once again amongst the favourites in the 2015 World Cup. They had a very good run but it came to an end against New Zealand in the semis. A poor run in the 2017 Champions Trophy followed where they failed to qualify for the knockout stages. In 2018, they were dealt a huge blow as arguably their best batsman, AB de Villiers bowed out of international cricket.