Allan Donald made his first-class debut with Orange Free State in 1985/86, but South Africa's isolation from international cricket caused him to bowl out most of his prime playing years in obscurity. He made his Test debut against West Indies on South Africa's first tour and has since then been a permanent fixture in the squad.
Donald is often cited as the premier fast bowler in world cricket, competing only with Australia's Glenn McGrath for that honour. Bowling with a smooth run-up and rhythmical action, Donald has explosive pace to match his impeccable control and sharp movement, extracting bounce from even the deadest of pitches. His record of 329 wickets in 69 Tests is striking; he is the only South African bowler to cross the 300-wicket figure in Test cricket.
Donald's recent performances have been hampered by frequent injuries, although he is rested wisely. In his last Test series, in West Indies, he picked up 12 wickets in four Tests, forced to miss one game in the series. This type of stop-and-start approach may hinder him from performing to maximum potential.
Donald has performed with great distinction abroad, even on the deader tracks of India. Australia's bounce and England's movement have favoured his style of bowling; indeed, Donald has picked up 149 of his 329 wickets overseas.
Donald's international experience and bowling skills have been enhanced by his county stint with Warwickshire. His bowling rigours have, however, caused him to break down on numerous occasions and withdraw temporarily from the game. He has, in recent times, cut down on the length of his run-up, as well as on the amount of one-day cricket played, reserving himself only for Tests and important tournaments such as the World Cup. His comeback in the Standard Bank Tri-Series follows yet another such hiatus; it remains to be seen how these frequent injuries will affect his career in the long run.
Although he is approaching the end of his distinguished career and is no longer as fast as he once was, the other elements of his bowling still make him one of the most feared fast bowlers in world cricket today. His control and movement are still there, capable of destroying entire bowling line-ups on their day. Though he is out of action for the ODI series, he is expected to be back for the Test series