The South Africa national cricket team, also known as the Proteas, represents South Africa in men’s international cricket and is administered by Cricket South Africa. South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), with Test, One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) status. Its nickname derives from South Africa’s national flower, Protea cynaroides, commonly known as the “King Protea”.

South Africa entered first-class and international cricket at the same time when they hosted an England cricket team in the 1888–89 season. At first, the team was no match for Australia or England but, having gained experience and expertise, they were able to field a competitive team by the first decade of the 20th century. The team regularly played against Australia, England and New Zealand through to the 1960s, by which time there was considerable opposition to the country’s apartheid policy. The ICC imposed an international ban on the team, commensurate with actions taken by other global sporting bodies. When the ban was imposed, South Africa had developed to a point where its team was arguably the very best in the world, and had even out-played Australia.