No Minister

Best Ever South African Test Cricket Eleven

Well not much interest in my Indian Team a few days ago but lets see if we get a response from readers of South African origin. As a 16 year old I was an avid follower of the New Zealand Tour of South Africa in 1962/63 plus of course was familiar with the heroics of Bert Sutcliffe, Bob Blair and others on the 1954 tour there. I also knew that in Wellington in 1952 Jackie McGlew the South African opener became the first ever test player to be on the field for every ball of a test match – I played some cricket with and against the late Eric Fisher who played his only test for New Zealand in that match.

Here is my team in batting order:

  1. Barry Richards
  2. Graeme Smith
  3. Hashim Amla
  4. Graeme Pollock
  5. AB de Villiers
  6. Jacques Kallis
  7. Mark Boucher
  8. Vernon Philander
  9. Peter Pollock
  10. Alan Donald
  11. Hugh Tayfield

Graeme Smith will captain the team and take your pick of Colin Bland or Jonty Rhodes as 12th man. What outstanding fieldsmen those two were.

The time when South Africa were banned from participating in International cricket impacted on this team. I put Barry Richards in even though he only played four tests but left out Mike Proctor who played seven and Clive Rice who never played a test as far as I could see – what a waste.

In the end I left Jackie McGlew out for Smith and of course Hanse Cronje ruled himself out. Greats like Eddie Barlow, JB Waite, Roy Mclean, batsmen in my era missed out while bowlers Neil Adcock, Sean Pollock (I couldn’t have 3 Pollocks – could I) as well as Morne Morkel were all considered. Dave Richardson pushed Boucher for wicket keeper and JB Waite was also a contender there.

What say you South Africans – who have I omitted that you would want there?

Written by pdm1946

March 7, 2021 at 11:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. Looks pretty good to me.


    March 7, 2021 at 11:45 am

  2. Agree with the Pollocks. Saw them annihilate Kent in ’65. Graeme 203 and Peter 7 wickets. Would have loved to have seen Colin Bland get a mention. Reasonable batsman (average just under 50) but as fielder simply amazing. Remember watching him demonstrating throwing down the stumps after the game.


    March 7, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    • Have another look Bob – I remember hearing about Colin Bland practicing fielding by throwing at and regularly hitting one stump.


      March 8, 2021 at 6:47 am

  3. South Africa always seemed to do well all rounders, my choices have no rational basis but would include……

    Pollock, S
    Rhodes, J
    Boucher, M
    Symcox, P
    Kluesner, L
    McMillian B


    March 8, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    • Alloy – Boucher and Rhodes are in my twelve while I said Sean Pollock went very close as did Brian McMillan. Lance Klusener was more an ODI man and Pat Symcox never played a test as far as I can see so that rules him out..

      As they say though there is good in everything. While researching Symcox I discovered I had completely overlooked Dale Steyn – probably the best fast bowler in world cricket 3 or 4 years ago. He would certainly have been close to my team above had I thought of him.


      March 9, 2021 at 7:41 am

    • I included Symcox after he and Boucher scored 195 for a tenth wicket partnership on 15 February 1998 against Pakistan in Johannesburg.

      Symcox became the first South African and the 3rd in the world to score a ton as 10th batsman.

      It was his only test century, but as I recall he and Boucher slogged through snatching a draw (ultimately) from the jaws of defeat.

      I also recall he seemed perfectly willing and capable to out sledge the Australians.



      March 9, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    • Apologies – I had the wrong spelling I think when I looked earlier. Stil he was primarily an offie and a test bowling average of 43 doesn’t really cut it for all of his aggression.

      On that basis Mark Craig would make the NZ team because he hit the first ball he faced in test cricket for 6.


      March 9, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    • PDM1946- no apologies required…..a pleasant natter……that saod

      Statistically he’s at least the 3rd best #10 batsman in the world 😛

      and SA has never had a lot of spin options.

      My list is more about fond memories of that time than anything else.

      Symcox, Rhodes and Kluesner played for my provincial team hence my fondness.

      That aside any team without Rhodes would be lacking a specialist fieldsman.

      Thanks for the post BTW, a pleasant change from the politics abounding.


      March 9, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    • No worries Alloytoo – good to have the debate..

      Are you sure Rhodes was a better fieldsman than Bland – I could not split them.

      My purpose was the best possible X1 and if you are relying on your no10 to score runs regularly in tests you have problems up the order.


      March 9, 2021 at 3:32 pm

  4. No Rabada? He still has the best test average of any current player except Jamieson, who’s only played six tests. And no consideration of JP Duminy? I suppose he is more a white ball player. Dayle Steyn though? I don’t see how you put Philander in while leaving any of those three out.

    I think Cronje has to be included, cheater or not. I feel the same about Azharrudin with India.


    March 17, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    • Oh! I see you mentioned Steyn in comments above. I missed that when I first commented.


      March 17, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    • Cronje ruled himself out for me – just like Smith with Australia.

      Yep Philander may be lucky but he has a high strike rate. Must admit Rabada did not come into my reckoning, Adcock did though. Not sure where Duminy would fit and his record was probably better in ODI’s – if he is in contention the probably Rudolph and Prince should be too.


      March 17, 2021 at 7:27 pm

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