Regarded as one of the strongest team in the international circuit, South Africa has given us some tremendous cricketers over the years and though they have been unlucky at times, South African players continue to be the crowd favourites and it is more evident for the amount of support the current crop receives anywhere in the world.
Despite their dominance in world cricket, cricket in Africa has never been spared from politics since its inception in the region. Just a few decades ago, cricket was confined to only the white population in South Africa in line with the then government’s racial apartheid regime.
The brutal apartheid regime prevailed in South Africa since 1948 and that led to the country’s isolation in the world of sports. And finally, international cricket tours to South Africa faced a closure in 1970. From more than 20 years the country was in oblivion from world cricket till the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of incarceration that opened up the possibility of the country regaining its sporting recognition.
The apartheid regime prevented many South African greats from competing at the highest level and deprived them of representing their country in international cricket.
Now, we give a look at 5 South African cricketers whose international careers were cut short due to the brutal apartheid policy
#6 Jimmy Cook
One of the most prolific opening batsmen of that era, Jimmy Cook’s international career was cut short due to South Africa’s isolation from world cricket since 1970. He did make his international debut in 1992, after South Africa’s re-entry but at the age of 39 he was in the twilight of his career and had already past his prime. Cook was also a professional footballer for South Africa.
Originally a middle order batsman for Transvaal, Cook’s career blossomed when he was given the opportunity to open the batting. Along with Henry Fotheringham, the duo formed a formidable opening partnership that ensured Transvaal dominated the domestic circuit in the 1980s. He was given the captaincy later on in his career and remains the 3rd highest run-scorer for South Africa in 1st class cricket.
Cook finished his career with more than 21,000 first class runs with 64 centuries and 87 half centuries. He scored at a healthy average of 50.58.