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The South African national cricket team started first-class international cricket in 1888-1889 when they played the England cricket team.  They were beaten convincingly.  The team’s nickname is Proteas, named after South Africa’s national flower.  The flower is represented on the South Africa cricket team crest they wear on their shirts and caps.  They are a full member of the International Cricket Council which gives them status for Test, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.

South Africa were the 3rd country to play tests when they hosted England in 1889 in Port Elizabeth.  This game didn’t achieve official ‘Test’ status, nor did any other matches until South Africa started the Imperial Cricket Conference along with England and Australia in 1906.  South Africa’s Test record in the early days was poor, with ten defeats from their first eleven tests.  The other match was a draw.  They did however improve in the early 1900s, when a world-class team were formed.

The South Africa cricket team played regularly up until 1960s when they were banned in 1970 due to the country’s apartheid policy.  This action was taken by other sporting bodies covering all sports.  Unfortunately for South African cricket, the ban was imposed when they had the best team in the world.  This resulted in world-class players such as Allan Lamb and Robin Smith to emigrate to England and play for their cricket team.

The international ban remained until 1991 when it was eventually lifted by the ICC.  The team as a whole have performed well and at one time were ranked 1st in the world in all three cricket formats.