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South Africa were beaten in every match on their first-ever tour of the West Indies but the results were in contrast to the overwhelming political success of the three-week tour. The whole affair would have been cancelled had not South African whites voted in favour of President de Klerk's programme of reform just three weeks earlier. But in the event there were hardly any demonstrations and a South African team with just one non-white player, Omar Henry, was received warmly throughout the Caribbean. In Trinidad, the centre of anti-apartheid demonstrations when England toured six years earlier, the players were given a standing ovation when they came out to jog round the boundary before the game.
There was one significant protest which led to a boycott of the Test match by Barbadian spectators: only a few hundred people watched each day of a momentous Test match. But in an extraordinary twist to history, this was nothing to do with South Africa or the apartheid policy. It was ostensibly caused by the omission of the Barbadian Anderson Cummins from the West Indian team. However, this was the culmination of various grievances against the selectors about the treatment of Barbadian heroes, including the exclusion of Carlisle Best from the previous Bridgetown Test, the passing over of Desmond Haynes for the captaincy and the exclusion of Malcolm Marshall from the World Cup party.
The protesters missed a remarkable game of cricket which looked certain to end in a triumph for South Africa until the final morning. They had looked far better geared up for Test than the West Indians, several of whom still seemed to be in one-day mode. The boycott cost the West Indies Board an estimated £100,000 in gate receipts but the touring team's expenses were met by the South African arm of the oil company BP, thus ensuring that the West Indies were able to make a profit on a tour for the first time in 15 years. Back in South Africa, the tour was on national TV instead of the satellite channel which showed the World Cup to a predominantly white audience.
The one-day series had been both well-attended and completely umcompetitive. The South Africans went straight into the first game without a practice match 72 hours after their arrival. The nets in both Kingston and Port-of-Spain were unsatisfactory and the team were unable to get used to the perfect batting pitches and, after the white ball of the World Cup, a red ball which hardly swung.
Along with the senior side, the South Africans sent out a 15-strong under-19 squad, of whom 11 were non-white. Although they were not an officially representative side, they managed to beat their Barbadian counterparts after drawing in Trinidad and losing in Jamaica.
Test match- Played 1: Lost 1.
One-day internationals- Played 3: Lost 3.
Match reports for