Proteas look to make SA proud and bring home T20 World Cup

RYAN Rickelton, Proteas wicket-keeper/batter, is hoping the team can make former Proteas legends proud by winning the upcoming T20 World Cup. | BackpagePix

RYAN Rickelton, Proteas wicket-keeper/batter, is hoping the team can make former Proteas legends proud by winning the upcoming T20 World Cup. | BackpagePix

Published May 18, 2024


VERY few things unite a country quite like sport does and if there was ever a right time for the Proteas to win their first World Cup title and help unite South Africa, it would be during next month’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States.

Over the years, the state of affairs in the country seem to have worsened as unemployment rates, crime and the gap between rich and poor continue to widen.

On the cricket side of things, the sport has lost sponsorships and the faith of the majority of its fan base, due to various maladministration issues that have transpired in the past five years.

The general performance of the team in World Cups has not helped either. After all, the country still aches from the horrors of the 2022 T20 World Cup exit, where a strong Proteas side was knocked out by a minnows Netherlands team.

However, fresh faces have been added to the T20 team in the form of Ryan Rickelton and Ottneil Baartman, and a new leader elected in Aiden Markram.

It is these fresh faces and ideas, coupled with the experience of the likes of Quinton de Kock, which bring hope that perhaps this could be the team to win the elusive trophy.

Despite being uncapped in T20 internationals and going to his first World Cup event, Rickelton seems to understand the impact the trophy would have on the country.

“It would make for one hell of a story,” Rickelton told Independent Newspapers. “It’s difficult to put in words what winning this World Cup would do for us as a team and the country. If it does happen, it will definitely change the landscape of cricket.”

With all the stars that South African cricket have produced in the past, it remains a shocking reality that they are yet to win a World Cup trophy.

According to Rickelton, winning the World Cup would go so far as to make former Proteas legends proud for having paved the way, despite not being able to win the title themselves.

“Thinking of all the greats of the Proteas, it’s something they weren’t able to achieve, and I know for a fact it’s something that would make them proud as well,” he continued.

Following topping the runs-charts in the SA20 earlier this year, Rickelton forced his way into the T20 World Cup squad, making his first World Cup squad.

This is on the back of 530 runs in just ten innings as he blasted five half-tons in the SA20, including a career-best 98, all at an impressive strike-rate of 177.

The 27-year-old told Independent Newspapers that he is yet to make sense of the magnitude of being involved in the World Cup, but is excited to apply his newly-found mentality in the world stage next month.

“It’s exciting. I don't think I understand the magnitude of it all just yet, but I can’t wait to get over to America and experience it all,” he said.

“It was a change in mentality (that made me successful in the SA20). I moved away from trying to dominate and just focused on contributing to the team instead. Not being too worried about getting out has probably been the biggest change.

“The World Cup will be a lot more pressurised, but I’d like to continue with that sort of mentality and playing the way I’ve been playing,” he concluded.

Before the World Cup, Rickelton will hope to earn a maiden T20I cap during next week’s three-match T20 series against the West Indies at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

Proteas T20 World Cup Squad

Aiden Markram (captain), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortjé, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs.

Travelling Reserves: Nandré Burger, Lungi Ngidi.

Proteas Provisional Squad For West Indies

Rassie van der Dussen (captain, DP World Lions), Ottneil Baartman (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Gerald Coetzee (Momentum Multiply Titans), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Matthew Breetzke (Dafabet Warriors), Bjorn Fortuin (DP World Lions), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Patrick Kruger (Dafabet Warriors), Wiaan Mulder (DP World Lions), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Dafabet Warriors), Nqaba Peter (DP World Lions), Ryan Rickelton (DP World Lions), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins) and Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans).