When sport and politics collide, the outcome is rarely good news for the players. And so it was in 1970 when the ICC suspended South Africa from international cricket because of the Government’s apartheid policy; just when its national cricket team was at the height of its powers. The decision also deprived the world scene of great players such as Eddie Barlow, Barry Richards, Mike Procter and Graeme Pollock. Or so it seemed…
The rise of World Series Cricket and its independence from the ICC ruling offered these four stars of the game a chance to return to the world stage. It was a challenge that they accepted and revelled in, with Richards striking an impressive 207 in one of the Supertests. As part of a World XI they were able to play beside and against the best international cricketers. Ironically, in World Series Cricket, the South African players happily played alongside West Indian players as part of the World XI. Garth Le Roux and Clive Rice also joined WSC the following season.
With the players contracted and cleared to play, now it was time to revolutionise the game itself.
South Africans Barry Richards & Eddie Barlow at the commencement of WSC. The popularisation of batting helmets saw both men quickly shave off their beards for competition! (Image: Viv Jenkins Collection)