De Kock’s likely retirement could pave way for Rickelton

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock probably played his last game for the Proteas in Saturday’s ICC T20 World Cup final. | AFP

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock probably played his last game for the Proteas in Saturday’s ICC T20 World Cup final. | AFP

Published Jul 2, 2024


Zaahier Adams

India bid farewell to three of their most celebrated superstars after the victorious ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final in Barbados on Saturday.

Captain Rohit Sharma, premier batter Virat Kohli and all-rounder Ravi Jadeja all called time on their T20 International careers. It will undoubtedly usher in a new era with a host of Indian Premier League starlets waiting in the wings for their opportunity to continue the Indian legacy.

Rajasthan Royals run machine Yashavi Jaiswal and Gujarat Titans captain Shubnam Gill are ready-made replacements at the top of the order for Sharma and Kohli, while India have an abundance of spin options.

With the champions set to re-energise their team, how will the Proteas head into the future?

In the immediate aftermath of their loss in the final, it does seem like Quinton de Kock has played his last international match.

De Kock retired from Test cricket in December 2021, and then confirmed that last year’s ODI World Cup in India would be his last in the longer white-ball format.

Everything now points to Barbados being De Kock’s T20I swansong, too.

Ryan Rickelton seems the most obvious choice to take both De Kock’s spot at the top of the order and behind the stumps. The MI Cape Town left-hander was the leading run-scorer in the second season of the SA20 and continued his rich vein of form in the domestic CSA T20 Challenge for the Lions.

There were actually many who believed Rickelton should already have been in the Proteas’ starting XI, partnering De Kock at the expense of his Lions teammate Reeza Hendricks, during the T20 World Cup.

And this brings us to Hendricks. For so long the unluckiest cricketer in the South African system, he was unable to take his chance when it mattered most.

At 35 years old, it seems likely that coach Rob Walter’s unwavering faith in him will finally run out with Durban’s Super Giants opener Matthew Breetzke a possible replacement.

David Miller’s reaction to the defeat at the Kensington Oval, with the Proteas’ most capped T20 international almost inconsolable, suggests Barbados could be his last shot at a global title. We’ll have to wait for confirmation from the Proteas camp whether Miller will indeed retire from T20 Internationals.

There are a couple of players that have put their hands up during the SA20, but the most likely candidate to take over the mantle of the Proteas finisher is Joburg Super Kings’ Donovan Ferreira.

Ferreira has spent the past two IPL seasons with the Rajasthan Royals, is currently playing for Yorkshire in England’s T20 Blast and has played in the Caribbean Premier League for the Barbados Royals.

With Anrich Nortje set to focus purely on white-ball cricket in the near future it seems that the Proteas’ seam bowling department will continue to be led by “The Uitenhauge Express”, although we are more than likely to see less of Kagiso Rabada in bilateral T20 series.

This will open the door for Nandre Burger to play a greater role with the new ball, along with Gerald Coetzee, who was South Africa’s leading wicket taker at the ODI World Cup in India last year.

Both have the express pace to continue the Proteas’ legacy of unearthing high-quality fast bowlers.

The final outcome may not quite be what the Proteas had hoped in the US and Caribbean, but there is certainly enough young talent bubbling under to have another genuine crack at the T20 title in a couple of years’ time in India.

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