All time best South Africa Proteas Test cricket XI

South Africa has a long and proud history in cricket, with the national team known as the Proteas. Many of the best cricket players of all time, both batsmen and bowlers, are from South Africa and have forged themselves a global reputation.

It is also worth noting that many South Africans, such as Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock, were not considered for our greatest ever South African Test XI because they did not play enough Test matches following the ban of the Proteas from the international game. 

We also have left out disgraced former skipper Hansie Cronje, who we would normally include in the best ever South African cricket XI list, because of his inglorious finish. 

 In this article we will highlight the all-time best South Africa Proteas Test cricket XI. 

Top South African Test cricket 11

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Graeme Smith

Test matches: 117 Runs: 9265 Average: 48.2

Smith scored 27 Test match centuries in a glittering career that netted him more than 9000 runs in 117 matches for his country. Arguably South African’s best ever captain, Smith was a pillar of strength at the top of the order and was an elegant batsman in his prime. He was also one of our all-time great money-makers with online bookmakers, with his consistency making him a solid option to bet on.

Gary Kirsten

Test matches: 101 Runs: 7289 Average: 45.3 

A gun left-hander, Kirsten almost single-handedly dragged South African cricket back from the wilderness after their enforced layoff from the International scene. Kirsten scored 7289 runs from 1993-2004 and has gone on to be one of the most influential people in the game in South Africa.

Hashim Amla

Test matches: 124, Runs: 9282 Average: 46.64 

Amla blasted 9282 runs at 46.6, although his average can be slightly misleading given his average plummeted from well over 50 in the last few years of his career, which wound up in 2019. Amla dominated in India and England through his career, where he average over 60, which is enough for us to include him in our best ever South African cricket team. 

Jacques Kallis

Test matches: 166 Runs: 13289 Average: 55.4; Wickets: 292, Average: 32.6

The star South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis picks himself at no.4 in the batting order for the Proteas all time Test XI, with a average of over 55. He would be picked in this best players list even without his bowling, which netted him 282 Test wickets at an average of 32.65. 

AB De Villiers

Test matches:114 Runs: 8765 Average: 50.7

For a time AB De Villiers was imperious as a batsman and finished his career in 2018 with 8765 runs at an average of 50.7. AB De Villiers also kept for South Africa at Test level to highlight his versatility, although his batting has him selected alone. De Villiers ended his international career early after being a vocal critic of the governing body. 

Quinton de Kock

Test matches: 51. Average: 37.1 

The current-day superstar of the South African cricket team is Quinton de Kock, with the gun keeper-batsman pipping Mark Boucher for a spot in our Test XI. De Kock the batsman is destructive as shown by his reputation in white ball cricket. We really hope at some point, South Africa breaks out of their current Test malaise and we see de Kock in a strong team. 

Shaun Pollock

Test matches: 108 Runs: 3781 Average: 32.3; Wickets: 421, Average: 23.1

The son of Graeme Pollock, Shaun Pollock was a super-consistent bowling all-rounder, who snared 421 wickets at an outstanding average of 23.11. Pollock also averaged 32.31 with the bat in 108 appearances for the Proteas to make him one of their greatest ever Test cricketers. Pollock beats out another well-known all-rounder — Lance Klusener — who was a match-winner but does not have the statistical claim. 

Allan Donald

Test matches: 72 Wickets: 330 Average: 22.25, Econ: 2.83

Allan “White Lightning” Donald terrorised batsmen for years with sheer pace, but it would be a slight not to acknowledge just how skilful he was. Donald led the South African bowling attack following their readmission into Test cricket and quickly announced himself to the world, finishing a glittering career with 330 wickets at an average of 22.25. 

Dale Steyn

Test matches: 93 Wickets: 439 Average: 22.9 Econ: 3.24

Following in the footsteps of Allan Donald, Dale Steyn is another tearaway quick who thrived in Test cricket. Steyn is a right-handed bowler who bowls impeccable line and length when on song. Steyn played well in most conditions and is clearly deserving of his spot in the Proteas’ best Test XI. Don’t remember the Steyn that retired after inconsistent red ball form in 2019, remember the bowler that destroyed teams for close to 10 years. 

Kagiso Rabada

Test matches: 45 Wickets: 202 Average: 23.4 (still playing)

At the time of writing our best ever South African cricket Test 11, Rabada had played just 45 matches, but he has been shouldering strike bowler duties for some years. Rabada is lightning quick, to the point of scary for opposing batters, and with a bit of luck will challenge Steyn’s record of 439 wickets in the future. Rabada is also constantly the bowler with the shortest odds at sports betting sites to top the Proteas wickets.

Keshav Maharaj

Test matches: 45 Wickets: 120 Average: 33.79 (still playing)

Still playing for South Africa at Test level, Maharaj being picked as the spinner in the all-time Test XI could come as a shock to some. You simply can’t pick a best Test team list without having a spinner, because it’s almost impossible to win on the subcontinent without one. Maharaj beats out the likes of The Frog in the Blender Paul Adams and Nicky Boje, who both have more wickets than him, but are long retired. 

Herschelle Gibbs (12th man)

Test matches: 90 Runs: 6167 Average: 42 

Gibbs was an explosive batsman in both red ball and white ball cricket, but had a reputation that preceded him, with his fiery attitude. Gibbs finished his career in 2008 with 6167 runs at an average of 42. We suspect Gibbs never quite got the most out of himself at Test level, but he is thoroughly deserving of a spot in the 12 on talent alone. 

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