Due to his long blond hair, Hanley was known as Spook, Afrikaans for ghost. Hanley was a fast medium bowler whose career coincided with South Africa"s ban on international cricket. In 1974 he played for the Derek Robins XI in England against Pakistan, taking 5/52 in the first innings.
Other South Africans in the team were, Barry Richards, who scored a century, Tich Smith, Peter Swart and Clive Rice.
He played for South Africa in 2 unofficial "Tests" and 6 Limited overs matches in 1984, taking a hat-trick at the Wanderers Stadium and 14 wickets in total. In England he played for Northamptonshire during the 1984 season, representing the county against the West Indies, and taking 3/27 in the first innings.
David Doyle, a peer of Graeme Pollock and one of South Africa"s premier batsmen of the era rated Hanley one of the greatest bowlers he faced.