Quinton de Kock. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)
- While he believes the Proteas have a core of players for sustained limited overs success, Mark Boucher intimated that there could be a player exodus after the failed ICC T20 World Cup campaign.
- Already, the futures of men like Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw are the subject of speculation.
- South Africa’s perilous position in terms of 50-over World Cup qualification could also contribute to some players pondering what assignments they still have the stomach for.
Could the Proteas be on the cusp of a player exodus after the failed ICC T20 World Cup campaign?
While outgoing head coach Mark Boucher readily believes the team is in a decent position when it comes to future white-ball assignments, he rather disconcertingly intimated that Cricket South Africa (CSA) might have to engage – urgently perhaps even – with certain key men and gauge their ongoing “interest”.
His tenure may have been dominated by off-field issues, but on the field the continued tension between stars who have to choose between national duty and the Indian Premier League blighted his results, particularly the series against Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
And with the appeal of 50-over cricket waning across the world, even the admittedly wobbly mission to qualify for next year’s 50-over World Cup in India might not be enough of a dangling carrot to convince some to keep on going.
“We have to try and keep all the players interested in playing for South Africa. I think that’s a big question that needs to be answered,” said Boucher.
“Then hopefully they can put some good combinations together and create some good coaching staff around these guys. This T20 side has been together for quite some time, and that’s when you start to win games as we have in the build-up to this and also at the start of the competition.
“People start looking at you and start saying, ‘well, hold on, South Africa could actually win this’. It’s a good position to be in.”
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Already, speculation is growing that Quinton de Kock, who retired from Test cricket last year, is a prime candidate for becoming a free agent, while it’s understood that Rilee Rossouw’s return to international cricket earlier this year was dependent on him merely having to be committed to the Proteas’ cause until after the T20 World Cup.
The next edition of the tournament only takes place in mid-2024, which means 50-over action now takes priority.
South Africa’s lowly position on the ICC World Cup Super League table – the mechanism for automatic qualification – anyway allows for the argument to be made that personnel changes might be required.
“Our white ball stuff, I think we’ve got ourselves to blame as South African cricket with where we are at the moment. We also understand that we’ve been through tough times, and there are certain things that have to happen with the guys to even close out; they didn’t go to different tournaments and all that type of stuff, and it’s all just amalgamated into the situation where we find ourselves having to qualify,” said Boucher.
“But if that’s the case, we’ve got to go do it the hard way, then so be it, we have to do it the hard way.”
Yet, do some of the players still have the stomach for that?
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