At a time when South Africa had the strongest
and most entertaining team in international cricket, protests against the
apartheid system were edging them into sporting isolation.
This tour of Australia
was to have lasted 17 weeks beginning with a match at Perth on 22 October. The New Zealand
leg was cancelled at an early stage when the South African Cricket Association
learned that several top players would not be prepared to extend the tour
The Australian Board chairman Sir Donald
Bradman said that the matches would be billed as ‘international’ matches
because “Tests” should be a title reserved for fixtures between member
countries of the I C C.
On 2 April 1971 a proposal from the South
African Cricket Association (SACA) to include two non-white cricketers in the
squad to tour Australia
was rebuffed by the Government. The non-white South African Cricket Board of
Control called it “apartheid in reverse:
“thirteen players being picked on merit and two because they are not
Next day a government-sponsored match to mark
the tenth anniversary of the Republic
of South Africa, between Transvaal,
the Currie Cup champions, and a Rest of South Africa XI captained by Graeme
Pollock was due to take place at Cape
Transvaal won the toss and elected to bat. After Barry Richards
played the first delivery from Procter for a single, the two batsmen and the
fielding side all trooped off the ground. A statement jointly penned by the
two teams was given out: “We fully
support the South African Cricket Association’s application to invite
non-whites to tour Australia, if they are good enough; and further subscribe
to merit being the only criterion on the cricket field.”
After making their demonstration the players
returned to the ground and continued the match. Frank Waring, the South African Minister
for Sport, dismissed their protest as: “merely a gesture for overseas
consumption,” and even Hasan Howa dismissed it as a stunt to save the tour.
The Australian Government in Canberra deplored the South African government’s
decision to exclude non-whites from its side to visit Australia but
did not yet go as far as to ban the tour ϯ.
it became clear that political groups, the church and trades unions would
boycott the visit or deprive the tourists of the use of facilities, the
Australian Cricket Board decided on 8 September 1971 “with great regret” to cancel
the forthcoming South African tour of Australia.
The reasons given included that it would
create internal bitterness and provoke vociferous disruption from minority
groups, as well as place extreme demands upon the police force.
Minister Frank Waring said that he would
never allow multi-racial cricket in South Africa despite the
cancellation of the Springbok tour.
"Springbok teams have always been white, and will remain so.”