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Johannesburg - South Africa’s Home Of Cricket?

Updated: May 17

Very few would doubt South Africa’s pedigree but where would you say is the centre of the nation’s cricketing excellence?

Johannesburg has consistently provided the Gauteng, the Lions, South Africa and the World with some of the best talent on the globe.

Gauteng were the most successful side in Currie Cup history with 25 wins in total, form that hasn’t always followed their successors, The Highveld Lions, who have only won the competition twice since its restructuring. Despite the changes, restructuring and the wilderness years under apartheid, Johannesburg has always had a knack of producing the very best. Even without the silverware, the region has plenty of players to show off about.

3 Johannesburg-born players have captained South Africa, the most recent of whom was Graeme Smith who took charge of the Proteas for 11 years. Added to this list of Test Cricket Captains, Andrew Strauss was also born in Gauteng’s capital.

Johannesburg’s conveyor of international cricketers has not just stopped at providing South Africa with players but also the rest of the world, most notably England but also New Zealand, Ireland and the Netherlands. Even within the last 10 years there has always been a Johannesburg native plying their trade elsewhere in the world. Matt Prior, Grant Elliott, Jade Dernbach and Ireland’s new star all-rounder Curtis Campher all hail from the South African city.

South Africa’s loss has been many other side’s gain and unfortunately, due to unrest in the country recently, this drain of talent to other nations looks set to continue.

The names from Jo’berg have never stopped being produced. From legends of the game from yesteryear such as Clive Rice, Ali Bacher, Jimmy Cook and Buster Nupen. To the modern greats such as Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Craig Keiswetter and Dane Vilas.

As with every great epicentre of cricket, a world class headquarters is a must. Gauteng and Johannesburg are very fortunate to have at their disposal The New Wanderers Ground. Much like the players who originate from Johannesburg, the ground is also known for its intimidating atmosphere and therefore has the appropriate nickname ‘the Bullring’. This clearly feeds into the psyche of those who play there as it typifies the fierce competitiveness of those from Johannesburg.

Since hosting its first test in 1956, The Wanderers has hosted some unbelievable games of cricket. IPL finals, World Cup Finals and, of course, one of the greatest one day games of all time when South Africa chased 434 to beat Australia in 2006. South Africa still holds the record for the biggest ODI chase in history from that game.

What do you think - maybe other great South African hubs such as Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria have been harshly treated by us?

All time Johannesburg XI

Graeme Smith

Andrew Strauss

Keaton Jennings

Dane Vilas

Jimmy Cook

Clive Rice

Quinton de Kock (WK)

Johan Botha

Andrew Hall

Alan Kourie

Kagiso Rabada

Image credit for Cover Graphic: Twitter @GeraldSmith69

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