Australian cricket team in South Africa in 1985–86

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An unofficial Australian cricket team toured South Africa in the 1985-86 season to play a series of test and one day matches. The series was highly controversial in Australia and its Australian participants were banned from first-class cricket for two seasons and test cricket for three seasons.[1]

Australian squad[edit]

The tour was organised by former Australian test batsman Bruce Francis at the behest of the South African cricket board, then led by Ali Bacher.

Original players signed for the tour included:

Several players seriously considered going such as David Hookes and Jeff Thomson but required too much money. Other players were never considered, such as Geoff Lawson, Kim Hughes and Allan Border.

Out of the players who signed, only Peter Faulkner had not represented Australia in test matches. Several were in the Australian team when they signed to go to Australia and a number of these players were selected on the 1985 trip to England, including Wood, Phillips, Hilditch, Wellham, Alderman, Rixon, Bennett, and Rackemann. News of the rebel tour broke before this squad left for England.


Murray Bennett pulled out of the tour after having second thoughts and being selected for Australia over the 1984-85 summer. Phillips, Wood and Wellham pulled out after a financial inducement from Kerry Packer; Packer also tried to get Steve Smith to change his mind but Smith refused. Hilditch also pulled out after being selected for the Australian team over the 84-85 summer.

Francis signed up several new players including Trevor Hohns, Greg Shipperd, Mick Taylor and Mike Haysman. The tour received its biggest boost in early 1985 when Kim Hughes, who had been dropped from the Australian team, met with Bacher and Francis, agreed to tour and captain the side.

Alderman, Rixon, Rackemann, Maguire and McCurdy lost a chance to tour England in 1985 by sticking to their agreement to tour South Africa.

The Tour[edit]

South Africa had a very strong line up, including Clive Rice (captain), Graeme Pollock and Garth le Roux.

South Africa won the unofficial test series 1-0.

South Africa XI v Australian XI at Durban, 1st unofficial Test, Dec 26-29, 1985[edit]

The first test ended in a draw. Highlights included centuries from Mick Taylor and Graeme Pollock as well as an eight wicket haul from Carl Rackemann.[2]

South Africa XI v Australian XI at Cape Town, 2nd unofficial Test, Jan 1-4, 1986[edit]

The second test also ended in a draw, with Rackemann taking another eight wicket haul and Kim Hughes scoring 97 not out.[3]

South Africa XI v Australian XI at Johannesburg, 3rd unofficial Test, Jan 16-21, 1986[edit]

The third test was closely fought. Australia had to score 250 runs in their second innings to win, thanks to a century from Steve Smith and a 12-wicket haul from Carl Rackemann. However they collapsed to be all out for 61 and South Africa won by 188 runs.[4]


External links[edit]