YORK – South Africa’s disjointed performances here at the World Cup has left many wondering where it has actually all gone wrong for the Proteas.
Top of the list is the apparent decline of South Africa’s domestic franchise system, and their inability to prepare players for the rigours of international cricket.
The belief stems from the exodus of former South African internationals who have opted to continue their careers as Kolpak players on the English county circuit.
The Proteas’ Durham hero Dwaine Pretorius, whose 3/25 – the most economical figures of the World Cup thus far – powered South Africa to only their second win of the tournament on Friday, utterly refutes this notion though.
Pretorius is a seasoned first-class domestic campaigner, having made his debut back in 2010/11 for provincial outfit North West, and just comes off a season where he played a pivotal role in helping the Highveld Lions to two franchise titles.
Equally, he points to his fellow Proteas and Lions teammate Rassie van der Dussen’s success since coming into the national team.
Van der Dussen also first cut his teeth on the provincial scene before graduating to franchise cricket, before ascending to the bright lights of the Proteas.
“There has been a lot of negative things said about it (domestic system) during this World Cup, and I find that quite interesting. If you look at a player like Rassie, he purely played franchise cricket until a year ago, and he has set the world alight,” Pretorius said.
“He learnt his trade there, and he has come here and done well.
“I think it’s important that players sometimes do spend time in that environment to know their games like he does. He doesn’t look out of his depth at all, because he knows his game.”
The 30-year-old, though, does have his reservations about the proposed change to the domestic structure.
Cricket South Africa are set to roll out a plan that will see the current six-team franchise system replaced with 12 provincial sides.
The South African Cricketers Association have already indicated their disapproval with this proposed change, with the two bodies only likely to resolve the matter in court.
“Our system is unfortunately going to change a bit. It is interesting to see how things go, and what the quality is going to be like now that they’re going back to 12 teams. Ask me that question in 12 months’ time,” he said.
Despite his lack of game time here at the World Cup – Pretorius was dropped after the opening game and sat on the sidelines for a month before returning at Chester-le-Street – he remains passionate about representing the Proteas, and is no hurry to join his former teammates permanently here in England on a Kolpak contract.
“There is a T20 World Cup coming, I desperately want to play in that, and hopefully this one in four years’ time in 2023.
“I want to keep myself strong and work on my skills to carve out a niche for myself as the most consistent bowler, and hopefully contribute with the bat as well.”@ZaahierAdams