De Kock to retire from ODIs

ISLAMABAD: South African cricketer Quinton de Kock has announced his retirement from One Day International (ODI) cricket after the upcoming World Cup in India. While his departure from ODIs comes as a surprise, de Kock is expected to continue representing South Africa in T20 Internationals (T20Is) until the 2024 World Cup.

Though the exact reason behind de Kock’s ODI retirement remains undisclosed, it is understood that his availability for the South African team was increasingly becoming an issue as he aimed to secure more contracts in various T20 leagues around the world.

The situation reached a critical point when de Kock committed to playing for the Melbourne Renegades in Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) between December 10 and January 5. This decision made him unavailable for the home white-ball series against India, scheduled from December 10 to 21, consisting of three T20Is and three ODIs.

Sources revealed that Cricket South Africa (CSA) expected de Kock to be available for the T20Is due to his central contract. However, his ODI retirement removed him from consideration for the ODIs against India. A compromise was apparently reached with CSA, allowing de Kock to participate in the BBL while still representing South Africa at the T20 World Cup, provided he gets game time, albeit not with the national team.

Concerns for CSA

CSA has experienced similar challenges due to league conflicts, notably with their own SA20 league. The tournament coincides with South Africa’s two-Test tour of New Zealand, leading to conflicts that have forced several key Test players to miss international series. CSA is now exploring ways to manage player contracts to accommodate league commitments and grant players more flexibility in choosing international series.

The changing landscape of cricket, with the growing influence of T20 leagues, has led to these challenges. Rob Walter, South Africa’s white-ball coach, emphasized the importance of adapting to these changes and understanding players’ needs. Walter highlighted the risk of players prioritizing leagues over international cricket, which South Africa aims to avoid.

De Kock is set to feature in the upcoming five-match ODI series starting on September 7, marking South Africa’s final outing before the World Cup. His ODI career has been remarkable, amassing 5966 runs in 140 matches at an impressive average of 44.85, with 17 centuries and 29 half-centuries. Walter noted de Kock’s determination to make his ODI farewell memorable and his aspirations for success in the World Cup.

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