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Updated on January 19th 2022, 5:09:39 am

Top 10 Greatest South African Cricketers of all time

A look at the top 10 greatest South African cricketers in history. Since their return in 1991, they started where they left and immediately marked their impact on the pitch and became one of the best teams in the world.

South Africa is one of the competitive teams with minimal success in ICC events. Over the years the country has seen it all, from holding a dominance against Australia and England in the early 1900s, from becoming the best test nation in the world to facing a ban for 21 years for Apartheid.


Since their return in 1991, they started where they left and immediately marked their impact on the pitch and became one of the best teams in the world. The country has produced players like Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, AB De Villers, and a lot more.


However, they constantly fail to mark their excellence in major tournaments. But that doesn’t discredit their player's performances over the years in different formats. For a fact, South Africa is the most successful team in ODI’s. Let’s look at the top 10 greatest players to play for the Proteas.



10. Jonty Rhodes


When it comes to ranking greatness, fielding takes a backseat, but not when it's Jonty Rhodes. He raised the bar of fielding to a height that is still untouchable. Widely regarded as the best fielder of all time, Rhodes makes it to 10th on the list.


Rhodes was the first South African cricketer to take 100 catches in ODI. Apart from fielding Rhodes has a decent batting record. He has scored over 8000 career runs with a top score of 121 in ODI.

9. Mark Boucher


Mark Boucher is regarded as one of the best keepers of the ball behind the stumps. Boucher is the most successful wicketkeeper in the world, he has a record of 998 dismissals in 467 matches. He also holds the record for most dismissals (555) in Test Cricket.


When it comes to batting, Boucher enjoys his name in the elite list of batsmen scoring 10,000 international runs for the proteas. Boucher has scored 10,289 runs precisely and is 9th on the list of highest run scorers for the proteas.

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8. Makhaya Ntini


Makhaya Ntini makes it to the 8th on the list. He resonates with the million Africans who aspire to play for their nation. Ntini was the first black player to play for the South African cricket team.


Despite his feet off the pitch, he never failed to amaze on the pitch. Ntini is the 3rd highest wicket-taker for the proteas in all the formats. He has picked 661 wickets in 283 matches. He was also the 3rd player for the proteas to pick 300 Test wickets after Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock.


7. Graeme Smith


Smith was given the command of the South African national side when he was 22, making him the youngest player to captain his nation. Little did anyone know that boy would turn out to be their most successful captain.


Smith is the most capped captain with 102 appearances in Test cricket. He is also the only player in the world to captain aside for over 100 Test matches.


Talking about his batting, then he is regarded as one of the best opening batsmen in the world. He has 4 300+ opening partnerships, and his score of 259 in lords is the highest individual swore at the mecca of cricket.


Smith has scored over 17000 international runs and he is 4th on the list of most runs for South Africa in all formats.


6. Allan Donald


The ‘White Lightning’ makes it to the 6th on the list. Donald was not just South Africa’s best fast bowler in his time but also World’s number 1 bowler. He along with Shaun Pollock was one of the best bowling duos in the world.


Allan Donald was the first South African bowler to pick 300 international wickets. He drew the path for Pollock, Steyn, and Ntini. He is the 2nd highest wicket-taker in ODi’s for the Proteas with 272 wickets to his name. Overall, he is their 4th highest wicket-taker in all formats. He has bagged 601 wickets in his professional career.

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5. Hashim Amla


Hashim Amla is one of the greatest batsmen the world has seen. His calmness and thinking abilities on the pitch are praised by many legends. Amla loves breaking records and has quite a few to his name.


Amla is the fastest batsman to score 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, and 7000 ODI runs. Dominating the limited format by himself. He also became the fastest batsman to reach 27 ODI centuries. He ended his ODI career with 27 centuries and 8,113 runs to his name


Talking about his abilities in the Test, then he has scored South Africa’s highest individual score of 311 runs which stand unbroken. Amla is 3rd on the list of most runs for the Proteas in all formats. He has scored 18,553 runs in his career.


4. AB de Villiers


Mr 360 came conquered and left an everlasting admiration from the cricketing world. De Villiers is known for his style, his ability to hit the ball to every corner of the park and bring opponents to their knees.


De Villiers is one of the best-limited overs batsmen the world has seen. He is a 3-time ICC ODI player of the year winner. He also holds the record for the fastest hundred in ODI cricket, when he smashed a 100 off 31 balls. 


De Villiers has scored 9,577 ODI runs and somewhere these stats have overshadowed his performances in red-ball cricket. He has smashed 8,776 test runs with an average of 50.66 which makes him one of the few batsmen to have above 50 averages in both formats.


De Villiers has scored 19,864 runs in all formats which makes him the 2nd highest run-scorer in Protea’s history. 

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3. Dale Steyn


Dale Steyn is considered the best fast bowler of this generation and his stats say the same. He along with stumps has broken a lot of records as well. He was the number 1 bowler statistically for 263 weeks. 


Steyn has dominated test cricket. Hence, he is regarded as the supreme force. Steyn has picked 439 Test wickets in just 93 matches. Steyn is South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.


In all the formats Steyn has picked up He has been awarded 697 wickets in all formats and is South Africa’s 2nd highest wicket-taker.

2. Shaun Pollock

Shaun Pollock came around the scene when South Africa’s bowling lineup was led by Allan Donald. He came and made a frightening duo with the legend and then eventually surpassed his record to become Proteas best bowler ever.


Pollack is South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in all the formats as he has 823 wickets to his name. He is also the 7th highest wicket-taker in the world in all formats.

Pollack was chosen as the Wisden cricketer of the year for 2013.



1. Jacques Kallis


Jacques Kallis is every cricketer's dream. He is what a true and complete rounder means. There are 3 types of All-rounders, Batting All-rounders who can bowl, Bowling all-rounders who can bat, and Jacques Kallis who can do both equally well.


Kallis is not considered but is in fact ‘The ‘ best all-rounder since cricket was invented. He is the only player in history to score 10,000 runs and take 250 wickets in ODI as well as the Tests.


He was the player of the tournament in South Africa’s sole ICC trophy the ICC Champions Trophy in 1998.


Kallis has scored over 24,000 Runs internationally and taken over 500 wickets. He is the only cricketer in the world to do so. He is South Africa’s leading run-scorer in Test, ODI, and across all formats as well.



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