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Is SuryaKumar Yadav the Most Complete 360 Player in T20 Cricket?

Yes, Suryakumar Yadav, also loving known as SKY, is one of the most complete 360 degree batters right now in world cricket.

Table of Contents

  1. What is a 360 Player?
  2. What shots of Suryakumar Yadav make him unique?
  3. Can Suryakumar Yadav Keep It Going?
Embed from Getty Images

The entire list of 360 degree players is as follows:

  1. AB De Villiers
  2. Kevin Pietersen
  3. Glenn Maxwell
  4. Jos Buttler
  5. Suryakumar Yadav
  6. Dinesh Karthik
  7. Glenn Phillips

The next generation of cricketers will add to this list, I am sure.

What is a 360 Player?

A 360-degree player is someone who utilizes each and every open area of the cricket ground. Traditionally, cricketers have been trained to play in the V, but due to limited overs cricket, the run scoring areas has expanded.

Suryakumar Yadav has shown that even though he was built with traditional cricket training (as can be seen from those perfect straight drives and classic shots), he has a lot more shots.

What shots of Suryakumar Yadav make him unique?

He has three shots that sets him apart:

  1. The sweep — Most modern day cricketers have the sweep shot, but what sets SKY apart is his range. Due to his beautiful wrist work, he can hit the ball anywhere from Deep Mid Wicket to Deep Square to Fine Leg behind the 45.
  2. The swipe — This swipe shot is something indescribable by the human eye. Most cases, it is used to hit a fast bowler over Square Leg for six. However, as seen in his marvelous 117 (55) vs England in 2022, he utilized this shot to great effect. One shot, in particular, caught my eye. He swiped the ball behind his leg and guided it almost straight behind Jos Buttler’s (WK) head for a one bounce four he
  3. The inside out shot — Another shot that has become a Suryakumar Yadav trademark. This can be employed against both spin and pace. As seen once again during that 117, he has perfected this shot. He hit an inside-out shot behind 3rd man for a majestic boundary!
  4. The Pull — Suryakumar Yadav began his career with a first ball pull over Fine Leg. Usually, boundaries here a bit shorter, and the fact that he can almost choose where to hit it makes him an effective 360 degree player.

And not only can he hit these wristy tricky shots, he can also play the classic straight drives. Another one of his shots that caught my eye during his incredible innings was that straight six with a little dance move. Here is highlights of his innings. If you have watched it once or twice, I request y’all to watch this innings again because it was that good.

Can Suryakumar Yadav Keep It Going?

There is no doubt that Suryakumar Yadav is in the form of his life.

These are just some of the many shots that help SKY cover what was once thought the unreachable areas of the ground. I hope he continues improving and stays in immaculate touch at the international level.

He has had to wait his time, but we have seen his gradual evolution from a finisher at KKR to a complete middle order batter at Mumbai Indians.

Surya did not receive his international cap as early as he should have, but he is making every innings count at the international level. That 117, with 14 fours and 6 sixes was a coming of age for him, and I just hope for the best for him going forward.

Keep going!

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 07/12/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

49 South African Cricketers Who Left Their Country for Kolpak Deals

Time for another World XI with Twists – Kolpak South African Cricketers Edition.

Huge revelation today – Quinton de Kock bid adieu to Test Cricket at the age of 29 after India brushed them aside in the first Test at Centurion. For more than a decade, South Africa have suffered a loss of talent to England through the Kolpak deal and now they have lost yet another great player, this time to overkill of cricket.

Table of Contents

Also Read: Cricket Self-Implodes: Thailand, The ICC, COVID, Racism, Sex, And Overkill of Cricket – Cricket Controversies 2021, End of Cricket as We Know it?

What Has South African Cricket Been Through Recently?

From being the #1 Test side for over a decade to becoming the “team in transition,” things have been far from ideal for South African cricket fans.

AB De Villiers retired from all of cricket, finally quashing the “Will he-Won’t he-Should he Return” debate. Faf du Plessis (retired from Tests to focus on T20I comeback), Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris have been shunted out from national selection due to their T20 leagues commitments. Dale Steyn hung up his boots, while Vernon Philander, Hashim Amla (lack of form) and Morne Morkel (now an Australian citizen) retired prematurely and took Kolpak deals post-retirement. In 2021, the domestic system has been restructured, SJN (Social Justice and briefly Nation Building) report has sparred nobody including Boucher-Smith, and the QDK kneeling controversy has further added to the fuel.

Only the 4/5 wins and positive brand of cricket in the 2021 T20 World Cup was a shining light. That too ended in a traditional disqualification due to net run rate.

However, since Brexit the Kolpak deal no longer holds, and the players are eligible for comeback. Blessing Muzarabani has been a ray of hope for Zimbabwe while David Wiese (ex-South African international) had a stellar T20 World Cup with Namibia. Wayne Parnell became the 1st official Kolpak player to make a comeback while Duanne Olivier is inching closer and closer.

Can Kolpak South African cricketers revive the Proteas ill-fated destiny?

Today’s Twist

Build 2 World XIs:

(1) A current XI of Kolpak South African Exodus players who are eligible for a South African comeback (Note they do not have to be contracted by a domestic team yet. Only that they are not retired and could comeback sometime in the future)

(2) An All-Time Best XI of Kolpak Players (retired)

The Catch

The XI needs to have five bowlers & a wicketkeeper.

*Note this does NOT include the list of players who were born in South Africa and are now settled in different countries representing England, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Netherlands, USA, etc. Those players are in the list linked below.

South African Cricketers Who Play For Other Countries: Labuschagne, Neil Wagner,…Can you Guess the Rest?

Quantifying South Africa’s Talent Drain

Overall around 69 cricketers have taken up Kolpak deals at some points in their career (49 from South Africa, 6 Zimbabwe, 2 New Zealand, and 12 West Indies – 7 Barbados, 3 Jamaica, 1 Trinidad and Tobago, 1 Guyana).

Additionally, around 39 cricketers were born in South Africa but have represented other countries & left South Africa earlier like Devon Conway and Kevin Pietersen. Then there are some like Dawid Malan (born in England, raised in South Africa, went back to England for international cricket) and Dane Piedt (left for USA but has not played an international for them yet), who are in neither of those lists.

Hence, there are at least 80 high profile cricketers that were from South African origin but did not represent the Proteas for at least some portion of their careers (Remember SA was banned from international cricket due to Apartheid in the 1980s, which was the beginning of the exodus).

Let us add another layer. Due to overkill of cricket, politics, and financial opportunities, AB De Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, and Graeme Smith retired relatively early. Others took up coaching opportunities outside, further weakening the domestic circuit.

*Grant Elliot is a South African born cricketer, who played for New Zealand and later took a Kolpak deal after retiring from New Zealand duty.

What do you think about Kolpak South African cricketers’ comeback? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

Current Kolpak XI Eligible for South African Comeback

From the 49, here are 14 Kolpak South African cricketers who are eligible for an international comeback. Practically, the reserve South African XI disappeared in a decade.

1. Stiaan van Zyl (2016)

  • International Debut: December 16-19, 2014 (101*) International Matches: 12 Tests
  • Age Left: 30 Age Now: 34
  • County Team: Sussex
  • Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Western Province, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland

Claim To Fame

Stiaan van Zyl became the 100th player to score a Test century on debut and yet, he left for England after just 12 Tests.

What did South Africa Miss?

A top order batter who could bowl fast medium, South Africa missed the balance (especially after Kallis’ retirement), reserve depth in batting, and a weaker domestic system without a batter of his caliber.

2. Richard Levi (2014)

  • International Debut: February 6, 2012 International Matches: 13 T20Is
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 33
  • County Team: Northamptonshire (earlier Somerset)
  • T20 Teams: Mumbai Indians
  • Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Western Province, South Africa A, South Africa U-19, South Africa XI
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim To Fame

Fastest T20I hundred (off 45 balls against New Zealand in 2012) at that time. Also had most sixes in a T20I (13) in that innings. Played only 13 T20Is before heading out.

What did South Africa Miss?

A swashbuckling opening batter in limited overs (Think Brendon McCullum-Martin Guptill-Colin Munro esque) who was ahead of his times when the T20 format was in its infancy. Could have been an ideal foil for QDK-Amla at the top in T20Is.

3. Rilee Rossouw (2016)

  • International Debut: August 20, 2014 International Matches: 36 ODIs, 15 T20Is
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Hampshire
  • T20 Teams: Dambulla Giants, Khulna Tigers, Multan Sultans, Quetta Gladiators, Melbourne Renegades, Royal Challengers Bangalore
  • Previous Teams: Free State, Eagles, South Africa A, South Africa U-19
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Knights (T20)

Claim to Fame

After beginning his international career with a series of ducks, he stabilized his spot in the international team with 3 ODI hundreds, 7 fifties and two T20I fifties (here is his 78 vs Australia, where he overshadowed the likes of QDK, Miller, and Duminy).

Played the 2015 ODI World Cup and the 2016 T20 World Cup. Now sought after in T20 leagues around the world.

What did South Africa Miss?

The messiest exit of all and the one that hurt the most. South Africa had heavily invested in Rossouw, and he had become the next big middle order player in the South African line-up, one that would almost certainly replace the great AB De Villiers. Rossouw exited over an iPhone email to coach Russell Domingo and even spelled Domingo’s first name incorrectly. Scored a century in his last ODI (122 vs Australia) and was the player of the series in that series (311 runs). Little did Protea fans know that it was to be his final time in South African colors.

4. Heino Kuhn – WK (2018)

  • International Debut: July 6-9, 2017 International Matches: 4 Tests, 7 T20Is
  • Age Left: 33 Age Now: 37
  • County Team: Kent (Northerns earlier)
  • Previous Teams: Titans, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): North West

Claim To Fame

Overall 11,000 first class runs with 24 hundreds and 58 fifties. Did not light up the international circuit in his short stay, but is a stalwart of South African domestic circuit.

What did South Africa Miss?

Left after CSA conveyed the message to him that his chances at international cricket would be limited. The domestic circuit was further weakened by his exit in his first class prime.

5. Colin Ingram (2014)

  • International Debut: October 8, 2010 Interational Matches: 31 ODIs, 9 T20Is
  • Age Left: Age Now: 36
  • County Team: Glamorgan
  • Previous Teams: Free State, Eastern Province, Warriors, South Africa A
  • T20 Teams: Islamabad United, Trinbago Knight Riders, St. Lucia Zouks, Oval Invincibles, Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Strikers, Delhi Capitals
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim To Fame

With 3 ODI hundreds and 3 fifties in ODIs and a 78 in T20Is, he had a decent limited overs career. However, these days he is known for being the most famous South African T20 export, playing in almost all leagues around the world.

Has played some glittering knocks in the PSL.

What did South Africa Miss?

Stability in the middle order in limited overs cricket. It is clear after 15 years of T20I cricket that boundary percentage, pressure situation experience, and T20 leagues are the backbone of world winning T20I sides. Apart from Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and AB De Villiers, Colin Ingram would have bolstered SA in this regard.

6. Dane Vilas – WK

  • International Debut: March 30, 2012 International Matches: 6 Tests, 1 T20I
  • Age Left: 30 Age Now: 36
  • County Team: Lancashire
  • Previous Teams: South Western Districts, Lions, Cape Cobras, South Africa A, South Africa XI
  • T20 Teams: Lahore Qalandars, Northern Superchargers
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim to Fame

Has scored over 9700 first class runs with 22 centuries. Appeared in the movie Hansie as Allan Donald.

What did South Africa Miss?

SA missed out on a great wicket-keeping substitute. AB De Villiers took the burden as keeper for most of his career. and Quinton de Kock’s entry signaled the end of Vilas’ international career. However South Africa would have liked long-term wicket-keeping reserves just like India had Parthiv Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik, and Rishabh Pant in case of injury to MS Dhoni (or playing alongside for an extended batting order).

7. Hardus Viljoen (2016)

  • International Debut: January 13-15, 2016 International Matches: Only Test
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Derbyshire (Kent earlier)
  • T20 Teams: Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, Peshawari Zalmi, St. Lucia Zouks, Kings XI Punjab
  • Previous Teams: Easterns, Lions, Titans, South African Invitation XI
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland

Claim To Fame

Took Alastair Cook’s wicket first ball of his Test career (only Test).

Also mentioned in Faf du Plessis’ infamous hilarious toss interview.

What did South Africa Miss?

Reserve depth in the medium pace allrounder-finisher slot. After Viljoen, Wiese, & Parnell left, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, and Wiaan Mulder were the only names left. With Morris’ strained relationship with CSA and Phehlukwayo’s loss of form, SA does not have many options anymore. At only 32 and back in SA domestic circuit, there may be an opening for a comeback.

8. Wayne Parnell (2018)

  • International Debut: January 12, 2009 International Matches: 6 Tests, 66 OIs, 40 T20Is
  • Age Left: 28 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Worcestershire (Sussex, Kent earlier)
  • Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Eastern Province, Warriors, South Africa U-19, South Africa A
  • T20 Teams: Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Barbados Tridents, Pune Warriors, Delhi Daredevils
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Western Province

Claim To Fame

Youngest player to get a CSA contract after his early age/U-19 World Cup heroics, Parnell burst onto the scene around the 2009 T20 World Cup. Good performances lead to a great IPL deal, and Parnell became a rising star.

He played in a couple more World Cups but injuries meant other bowlers jumped ahead in the pecking order. He left for a Kolpak deal but has come back, still only 32.

What did South Africa Miss?

A left-arm seamer for variation. Marco Jansen grabbed eyeballs with his great debut against India, but that is exactly what South Africa have been missing. Among the Steyn-Morkel-Philander-Rabada-Nortje generation, there haven’t been as many left-arm swing bowlers in the last decade for South Africa apart from Parnell (like Boult, Starc, and Shaheen). Good allrounder as well.

9. Simon Harmer (2016)

  • International Debut: Jan 1-5, 2015, International Matches: 5 Tests
  • Age Left: 27 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Essex
  • Previous Teams: Border, Warriors, Eastern Province, South African Universities, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Titans

Claim To Fame

He is well known for self-acclaimed statement that he is the best-off spinner in the world. With 719 first class wickets and the highest wicket-taker in England first class for the last five years, that may actually be true (along with Nathan Lyon and Ravichandran Ashwin).

He has signed a 5-year contract with Essex as an overseas player till 2026.

What did South Africa Miss?

Although leg spinners were in demand in 2010s (Tahir) and left arm spinners are now at the top of the demand list (Maharaj, Shamsi, Fortuin, Linde), they have been missing a world class off spinner. Aiden Markram’s off-spin can only take you so far…

10. Kyle Abbott (2017)

  • International Debut: Feb 22-24, 2013 (Player of the match), International Matches: 11 Tests, 34 ODIs, 26 T20Is
  • Age Left: 29 Age Now: 34
  • County Team: Hampshire (Middlesex, Worcestershire other teams)
  • T20 Leagues: Pune Warriors, Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Lahore Qalandars
  • Previous Teams: Dolphins, Warriors, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland

Claim To Fame

With Steyn-Morkel-Philander at their peak, Abbott did not get consistent opportunities but made the most of it when he was given a chance, especially in limited overs. The 2015 World cup semi-final broke the backbone of the South African team as an injured Vernon Philander was picked (due to political interference/quota system) over Kyle Abbott, the man in-form. South Africa lost, and slowly began to crumble.

Abbott announced his Kolpak decision after everything had been confirmed (without informing CSA) on the same day as Rilee Rossouw—the ultimate double jolt.

What did South Africa Miss?

South Africa missed a smooth transition between the Steyn-Morkel generation and the Rabada-Ngidi generation. Abbott had been earmarked as the next leader in line but that did not happen. Thankfully, Rabada had a great couple of years and Nortje followed it up with a good partnership.

Abbott is back in SA although he has not yet committed to an international return. His first goal is to get back in form due to the Covid-induced break.

11. Duanne Olivier (2019)

  • International Debut: Jan 12-14, 2017, International Matches: 10 Tests, 2 ODIs
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 29
  • County Team: Yorkshire
  • Previous Teams: Free State, Knights, South Africa U-19
  • T20 Teams: Jaffna Stallions, Jozi Stars
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Lions

Claim To Fame

48 Test wickets in 10 matches at an average of 19.25, what a brilliant start to his career. In the second series against Pakistan, he took two 5-fers in a match and went onto take 24 wickets in the series (best haul in a 3-match series since 1902-03), thereby becoming the player of the series.

What did South Africa Miss?

When one door opens, another closes.

Abbott left on January 1st, 2017. Olivier began his journey on January 12th, 2017. It looked like South Africa had found a replacement right away. It worked in their favor for about two short years, before he was picked by Yorkshire. Broken dreams for South African fans again.

12. Marchant de Lange (2017)

  • International Debut: Dec 26-29, 2011, International Matches: 2 Tests, 4 ODIs, 6 T20Is
  • Age Left: 25 Age Now: 31
  • County Team: Glamorgan
  • Previous Teams: Eastern, Free State, Titans, Knights, Pretoria University, South Africa Academy
  • T20 Teams: Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Dambulla Giants, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Team Abu Dhabi, Bengal Tigers, Trent Rockets, Durban Heat
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim To Fame

In a bowling attack comprising of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, and Jacques Kallis, de Lange came up with figures of 23.2-3-81-7 in his debut bowling performance.

What did South Africa Miss?

Unfortunately, injuries meant he could never cement a place in the South African squad and hence, took the Kolpak deal in 2017. Still only 31 and the joint highest wicket taker in the Hundred, he could be a dark horse for a comeback.

Squad:

13. Cameron Delport (holds a British passport and signed with Essex – plays T20 leagues around the world)

14. Farhaan Behardien, former South African T20 captain, has signed with Durham (before Brexit so his future is safe with them) but has not played yet due to COVID.

*This does not include Dane Piedt & Juan (Rusty) Theron, who have gone to the United States as an alternate option.

List of All-Time Kolpak South African Players

South Africa Exodus XI

  1. Faf du Plessis (2007, came back again)
  2. Neil McKenzie (2010)
  3. Jacques Rudolph (2007, came back to SA again; later went back to England as an overseas player)
  4. Hashim Amla (2019)
  5. Ashwell Prince (2013)
  6. Justin Kemp (2008)
  7. Andrew Hall (2008)
  8. David Wiese (2017)
  9. Paul Harris (2006, came back again)
  10. Ryan Maclaren (2007, came back to SA again; later came back to England as an overseas player)
  11. Morne Morkel (2018)

First Choice Squad:

12. Alfonso Thomas (2008), 13. Lance Klusener, 14. Shaun Pollock (2008), 15. Nicky Boje (2008), 16. Vernon Philander (signed but cancelled), 17. Charl Langeveldt (2008), 18. Andre Nel (2009)

Squad: 19. Claude Henderson, 20. Greg Smith (2004), 21. Riki Wessels, 22. Charl Willoughby, 23. Martin van Jaarsveld, 24. Zander de Bruyn (2005), 25. Garnett Kruger, 26. Tyron Henderson (2007), 27. Dillon du Preez, 28. Dominic Telo, 29. Friedel de Wet, 30. Johan van der Wath, 31. Nantie Hayward (2008), 32. Johann Myburgh (2011), 33. Gareth Roderick (2012), 34. Alviro Peterson (2015), 35. Daryn Smit – WK (2017)

List of Non-South African Kolpak Players

  1. Dwayne Smith (2008, West Indies – Barbados)
  2. Brendon Taylor – WK/Captain (2015, Zimbabwe, later came back)
  3. Murray Goodwin (2005, Zimbabwe)
  4. Grant Flower (2004, Zimbabwe)
  5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2017, West Indies – Guyana)
  6. Grant Elliot (2017, New Zealand)
  7. Brendan Nash (2013, West Indies – Jamaica, born in Australia)
  8. Wavell Hinds (2008, West Indies – Jamaica)
  9. Kyle Jarvis (2013, Zimbabwe)
  10. Blessing Muzarabani (2018, Zimbabwe, later came back)
  11. Fidel Edwards (2015, West Indies – Barbados, later came back)

Squad:

12. Ravi Rampaul (2016, West Indies – Trinidad & Tobago), 13. Ottis Gibson (2004, West Indies – Barbados), 14. Miguel Cummins (2019, West Indies – Barbados), 15. Tino Best (2017, West Indies – Barbados), 16. Pedro Collins (2007, West Indies – Barbados), 17. Corey Collymore (2008, West Indies – Barbados), 18. Jermaine Lawson (2008, West Indies – Jamaica, later moved to the USA), 19. Andre Adams (2008, New Zealand), 20. Anthony Ireland (2007, Zimbabwe)

What Was the Kolpak Deal?

The Kolpak ruling was named after Maros Kolpak (handball player from Slovakia) by the European Court of Justice. It was submitted on 28 November, 2000 and decided on 8 May, 2003.

County cricket had limited each team to have at most one overseas player. Earlier in 1995, the Bosman ruling had already admitted players from EU (like the Netherlands) to be considered as domestic players. The Kolpak ruling now allowed citizens of other countries with EU Association Agreements to have the same rights to work. Hence, a cricketer from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, or Barbados did not eat up the overseas spots of counties.

However, they had to give up their international career until the Kolpak contract expired.

Why Did Kolpak Deal End?

With Brexit, the UK withdrew from the European Union (effective 31 January, 2020), thereby ceasing the Kolpak deal.

FAQ

Can Kolpak players play for South Africa?

Yes, Kolpak players can now play for South Africa (beginning in 2022). They are already able to be picked domestic South African sides. Wayne Parnell has played a few ODIs upon his return and Duanne Olivier has starred in some Test matches.Wayne Parnell's photo in his comeback

Has Kolpak ended?

Yes, the Kolpak deals ended as of January 31st, 2020, when the United Kingdom officially left the European Union.

Why do South African cricketers leave South Africa?

South African cricketers leave South Africa for multiple reasons—financial opportunities, administrative drama, quota system, Apartheid, passport of another country through family citizenship, and decreasing value of the South African Rand (7.81 rands = $1 in Jan 30, 2012 to 18.52 on April 29, 2020).

How many cricketers took the Kolpak deal?

Overall around 69 cricketers took Kolpak deals at some points in their career (49 from South Africa, 6 Zimbabwe, 2 New Zealand, and 12 West Indies – 7 Barbados, 3 Jamaica, 1 Trinidad and Tobago, 1 Guyana).Kolpak South African cricketers graphic

Which Kolpak South African players are available for a national comeback?

Stiaan van Zyl, Richard Levi, Rilee Roussow, Heino Kuhn, Colin Ingram, Dane Vilas, Hardus Viljoen, Wayne Parnell, Simon Harmer, Kyle Abbott, and Duanne Olivier are eligible for a South African cricket team national comeback (or have already been picked).

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 12/31/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Top 11 Cricketers Who Retired Too Early – The Lost Generation of Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Michael Clarke

Greatness.

A simple word that carries immense burden. What defines greatness in sports? Statistical brilliance, nostalgia, longevity? In cricketing terms, 99.94, memories like Brett Lee vs Sachin Tendulkar, 100 Tests, or 15 years+ career?

Also Read: 22 Unlucky Cricketers, Most Underrated Cricketers

Table of Contents

To Retire Or Not to Retire, That is the Question

Legacies are largely depended on the final days in the international arena. Retirement has always been a tricky issue in cricket.

Sourav Ganguly’s Ian Chappell saga tarnished his otherwise positive legacy. A poor 2007 Cricket World Cup ended dreams for Brian Lara & Inzamam ul-Haq. Simon Jones’ career ended before it could start due to injuries.

Some overstay and risk going out on a low. Others like German soccer captain Philipp Lahm retired internationally at the age of just 30 after winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

The Lost Generation

Today we dive deep into the careers of the lost generation of 2005—Alastair Cook, AB De Villiers, Michael Clarke, and Hashim Amla, all of them would retire prematurely.

With the triple retirement of Dale Steyn, Brendon Taylor, and Lasith Malinga, the legendary class of 2004-06 is coming to a close. Only Broad-Anderson & Ross Taylor remain from the greats of this era.

Sandwiched between the 90s golden generations of Sangakkara-Jayawardene-Muralitharan, Tendulkar-Laxman-Ganguly-Dravid, Kallis-Pollock-Boucher-Ntini, Inzamam-Yousuf, Ponting led Australia, & the Fab 4 (Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith), there was the class of 2004 & 2005.

Why did these cricketers retire so soon? How does the future look like? Read till the end for our in-deptj analysis & final thoughts.

11 Cricketers Who Retired Too Early

While legends of the past played 12-15 years, the cricketers in this list only had about 9-12 years of international cricket. The fact that they followed the golden generation lead to slightly later debuts and hence, even shorter careers.

One of the clear indications of the early retirement for the batters is the statistics. Most did not cross 10,000, their averages fell below 50, and the centuries hovered between 25-27 (although at one stage it seemed each of these players would break them all).

Anderson’s long career seems like he is on another level (which he is) but in all reality, at one stage, all of these players would have careers as long as Jimmy Anderson.

The players in this list were not dropped. They retired on their own terms or because of other circumstances. Hence, we exclude players like Ian Bell, Virender Sehwag, Umar Gul, Suresh Raina, and Gautam Gambhir who were available for selection but were unfortunately dropped from the team plans later in their career.

1. Michael Clarke (Australia)

Tests: 115 Matches, 8643 runs, 49.10 average, 329* best, 100s/50s – 28/27, 31 wickets

ODIs: 245 Matches, 7981 runs, 44.58 average, 130 best, 100s/50s – 8/58, 57 wickets

T20Is: 34 Matches, 488 runs, 21.21 average, 103.17 SR, 67 best, 50-1, 6 wickets

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: January 18, 2003 (ODI)
  • Last Match: August 19-22, 2015 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Why Did He Retire?

Retiring on a high is every cricketer’s dream. Captaining Australia to a victory at home in front of the MCG crowd must have been a surreal experience. A few months later, the Ashes would be his final appearance. One of the bests #4 batters of all-time with a godly conversion rate in Tests. The 2012-13 season would always be remembered as Clarke’s year, the only batter to score 4 double centuries in a year.

Embed from Getty Images

2. Ryan Harris (Australia)

Tests: 27 Matches, 113 wickets, 23.52 average, 50.70 SR, best of 7/117 & 9/106, 4w/5w – 4/5

ODIs: 21 Matches, 44 wickets, 18.90 average, 5/19 best, 5w – 3

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: January 17, 2009 (ODI)
  • Last Match: January 5-9, 2015 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 29
  • Age Retired: 35
  • Why Did He Retire?

Harris’ career was a classic cases of fast bowling injuries. Whenever he was fit, he bowled his heart out and made an indelible impact. Could not make the XI in Australia’s golden generation and had to leave early due to chronic knee injury. Retired 3 days before the Ashes because he could not recover even after surgery. Will always be remembered for the ball of this century to dismiss Alastair Cook.

“I played 27 more Tests than I ever thought I would and I have relished every single moment of them.”

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3. Sir Alastair Cook (England)

Tests: 161 Matches, 12472 runs, 45.35 average, 294 best, 100s/50s – 33/57

ODIs: 92 Matches, 3204 runs, 36.40 average, 137 best, 100s/50s – 5/19

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: February 28 – March 4, 2006 (Test)
  • Last Match: September 6-10, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Current Age:36
    • Still playing for Essex and hitting centuries
  • Why Did He Retire?

At one point in time, he was touted to overtake Sachin Tendulkar as the highest run-scorer and century maker having scored 5000 runs at 26. Will always be remembered for the 2010-11 Ashes series down under. However, loss of form and inconsistency creeped in. Tougher playing conditions, 159 Tests in a row, and the KP saga probably got to him. Century in his first and last Tests against India showed that he still had it in him. Still the best opener in England?

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4. Sir Andrew Strauss (England)

Tests: 100 Matches, 7037 runs, 40.91 average, 177 best, 100s/50s – 21/27

ODIs: 127 Matches, 4205 runs, 35.63 average, 158 best, 100s/50s – 6/27

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: November 17, 2003 (ODI)
  • Last Match: August 15-19, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 27
  • Age Retired: 35
  • Why Did He Retire?

Due to his late debut, it was inevitable that Strauss would not have an extremely long career, but England fans learned how great Andrew Strauss was after his retirement, for both his captaincy & batting. Since the Cook-Strauss partnership ended, England could not find a stable partner for Cook (and Cook’s effectiveness also decreased). KP himself said in an interview that the text-messaging scandal on the eve of Strauss’s 100th Test was one of his biggest mistakes, which tarnished Strauss’ last match. Later became ECB’s Director of cricket and subsequently received knighthood for his service to English cricket.

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5. Kevin Pietersen (England)

Tests: 104 Matches, 8181 runs, 47.28 average, 227 best, 100s/50s – 23/35

ODIs: 136 Matches, 4440 runs, 40.73 average, 130 best, 100s/50s – 9/25

T20Is: 37 Matches, 1176 runs, 37.93 average, 141.59 SR, 79 best, 50s – 7

T20s: 200 Matches, 5695 runs, 33.89 average, 136.89 SR, 115* best, 100s/50s – 3/35

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: November 27, 2004 (ODI)
  • Last Match: January 02-04, 2014 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 24
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Why Did He Retire?

See Strauss above. Jokes aside, KP’s career had always been hampered by controversies. Although he had to leave South Africa and debuted relatively late, he quickly established himself as one of the greatest in his generation. Key contributor to the 2005 Ashes, 2012 India series, and 2010 T20 World Cup victories, he was a key component of driving English cricket forward. Although he was England’s highest scorer in the Mitchell Johnson 2015 series, he was a casualty of the 5-0 defeat. Poor relationship with Strauss & coach Andy Flower did not help as the management decided that KP’s career is over.

KP might have been controversial off the field, but there is no doubt he changed cricket for the better. Fast forward 15 years, everybody has an inner KP with the switch hits & aggressive mindset. Paved the way for English cricketers to join the IPL & other T20 leagues, thereby moving England one step closer to their eventual 2019 World Cup winning campaign.

Also Read: South African Cricketers Who Play For Other Countries: Labuschagne, Neil Wagner,…Can you Guess the Rest?

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6. Graeme Swann (England)

Tests: 60 Matches, 255 wickets, 29.96 average, 60.10 SR, best of 6/65 & 10/132, 4w/5w/10w – 14/17/3

ODIs: 79 Matches, 104 wickets, 27.76 average, 5/28 best, 4w/5w – 3/1

T20Is: 39 Matches, 51 wickets, 16.84 average, 3/13 best

T20s: 80 Matches, 98 wickets, 18.88 average, 3/13 best

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: January 22, 2000 (ODI), December 10-14, 2008 (Test)
  • Last Match: December 12-16, 2013 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 29 (Test), 20 (ODI)
  • Age Retired: 34
  • Why Did He Retire?

Statistically, Swann does not make the best bowlers of all-time list, but what he did in his 5-year Test career was continued the art of off-spin. After T20 cricket & ODI Powerplay rule changes, leg spinners flourished in the 2010s. Except for Daniel Vettori, finger spin was a dying art. Swann took off-spin forward and became a cog of the famed 2010-11 English lineup. Late Test debut, an elbow injury, and Johnson 2013 ensured that he retired mid-series (after the 3rd Test).

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7. Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan)

Tests: 35 Matches, 178 wickets, 28.10 average, 65.10 SR, best of 7/75 & 11/111, 4w/5w/10w – 9/10/4

ODIs: 113 Matches, 184 wickets, 22.72 average, 5/24 best, 4w/5w – 6/2

T20Is: 64 Matches, 85 wickets, 17.83 average, 4/19 best

T20s: 195 Matches, 271 wickets, 17.36 average, 4/14 best

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: July 1, 2008 (ODI)
  • Last Match: April 23, 2015 (T20I)
  • Age Debuted: 31
  • Age Retired: 37
  • Why Did He Retire?

Another one who debuted late, but made an immediate impact. From the cricketers who retired too early, Saeed Ajmal’s ending was probably the saddest. During Pakistan’s toughest days, Saeed Ajmal & Umar Gul took Pakistan to great heights, especially in T20 cricket. However it was his action that was his downfall. Unlike Mohammad Hafeez & Sunil Narine, Ajmal’s remodeled action was not effective enough without the doosra. Will definitely go down as a Pakistani great.

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8. Morne Morkel (South Africa)

Tests: 86 Matches, 309 wickets, 27.66 average, 53.30 SR, best of 6/23 & 9/110, 4w/5w – 18/8

ODIs: 117 Matches, 188 wickets, 25.32 average, 5/21 best, 4w/5w – 7/2

T20Is: 44 Matches, 47 wickets, 25.34 average, 4/17 best

T20s: 190 Matches, 207 wickets, 25.29 average, 4/17 best

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: December 25-29, 2006 (Test)
  • Last Match: March 29-April 2, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 22
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Current Age: 36
    • Plays with Brisbane Heat in the BBL; Was at Surrey from 2018-2020
  • Why Did He Retire?

When Morne Morkel left international cricket after that Australia series for the Kolpak deal in England (with Surrey), it signaled the beginning of the end of the great 2008-2015 South Africa generation. From 2015-2019, each one slowly retired, and it was painful to watch South Africa collapse to new lows. What was not painful, however, was Morne Mornel’s bowling. High arm action, pace & bounce, & most importantly, consistent line & length. Dale Steyn would not have been as successful had he not had Morne on the other end as the ideal foil. Morkel, in his own right, will go down as a South African great. With 309 wickets at age 33, who knows, he could have gone past Steyn himself. Now a resident of Australia and plays in the BBL as a local cricketer.

9. Hashim Amla (South Africa)

Tests: 124 Matches, 9282 runs, 46.64 average, 311* best, 100s/50s – 28/41

ODIs: 181 Matches, 8113 runs, 49.46 average, 159 best, 100s/50s – 27/39

T20Is: 44 Matches, 1277 runs, 33.60 average, 132.05 SR, 97* best, 50s – 8

T20s: 164 Matches, 4563 runs, 30.83 average, 126.04 SR, 104*, best, 100s/50s – 2/30

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: November 27-December 1, 2004 (Test)
  • Last Match: June 27, 2019 (ODI)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 35
  • Current Age: 38
    • Plays for Surrey in County Cricket
  • Why Did He Retire?

Fastest to 10, 15, 16,17, 18, 20, 27 centuries & 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, and 7000 ODI runs, he was the only contemporary of Virat Kohli who could challenge him. South Africa’s fall from grace was confirmed in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, and it was especially painful to watch Amla being hit in the head by Jofra Archer and retiring hurt. He would retire at the end of the tournament. Sublime cricketer, wonderful human being, he still architects blockathons on the County Circuit. You just help but wonder if South Africa should have persisted a year or so more for his form to come back.

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10. AB De Villiers (South Africa)

Tests: 114 Matches, 8765 runs, 50.66 average, 278* best, 100s/50s – 22/46

ODIs: 228 Matches, 9577 runs, 49.46 average, 176 best, 100s/50s – 25/53

T20Is: 78 Matches, 1672 runs, 26.12 average, 135.16 SR, 79* best, 50s – 10

T20s: 333 Matches, 9318 runs, 37.57 average, 150.46 SR, 133*, best, 100s/50s – 4/69

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: December 16-20, 2004 (Test)
  • Last Match: March 29-April 2, 2018 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 20
  • Age Retired: 34
  • Current Age: 37
    • Plays for RCB in the IPL
  • Why Did He Retire?

Will he? Won’t he? Speculation about AB De Villiers’ retirement has been as spicy as Hollywood gossip. It all began with the ghost of 2015 semi-finals loss, which he captained. He would then get the Test captaincy job, a dream for a long time. However, workload management & administrative struggles became a hassle. Picking & choosing on a series-by-series basis followed by an indefinite break was a sign of what was to come. He came back in brilliant home with Test series against India and Australia.

However a video retirement a year before the ODI World Cup took everyone by surprise. Since then, he has been in multiple conversations about coming for the 2019 ODI World Cup or 2021 T20 World Cup, but those conversations have not gone too far. He can still be seen smashing it out of the park in the IPL. He is still fit, takes mind boggling catches, and plays match changing innings even after no game practice for a year. Although ABD & Amla played 14 years, they could have been Tendulkar-esque with a career of 17-21 years in another era.

The best batter of the generation and the face of “Cricketers Who Retired Too Early.”

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11. Graeme Smith

Tests: 117 Matches, 9265 runs, 48.25 average, 277 best, 100s/50s – 27/38

ODIs: 197 Matches, 6989 runs, 37.98 average, 141 best, 100s/50s – 10/47

T20Is: 33 Matches, 982 runs, 31.67 average, 127.53 SR, 89* best, 50s – 5

T20s: 86 Matches, 2389 runs, 29.86 average, 123.08 SR, 105, best, 100s/50s – 1/11

Cricketers Who Retired Trivia

  • Debut: March 7-11, 2002 (Test)
  • Last Match: February 27-March 4, 2014 (Test)
  • Age Debuted: 21
  • Age Retired: 33
  • Why Did He Retire?

Given captaincy at a young age, Smith began the rebuilding of a squad that would take South AFrica to #1 Test rankings. One of the best openers of this era, his courage & leadership came to the fore. Batting with a broken hand to save a Test will in fans’ memories forever. Now the director of cricket for South Africa.

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Chris Gayle (West Indies)

Tests: 103 Matches, 7214 runs, 42.18 average, 333 best, 100s/50s – 15/37

ODIs: 301 Matches, 10480 runs, 37.83 average, 215 best, 100s/50s – 25/54

T20Is: 74 Matches, 1854 runs, 29.42 average, 139.18 SR, 117 best, 100s/50s – 2/14

T20s: 446 Matches, 14261 runs, 36.94 average, 145.87 SR, 175*, best, 100s/50s – 22/87

  • Debut: September 10, 1999 (ODI)
  • Last Match: August 2, 2021 (T20I)*
  • Age Debuted: 20
  • Current Age: 42
    • Plays for RCB in the IPL, SKNP in CPL, and the West Indies

*subject to change. He is selected in West Indies’ 2021 T20 World Cup squad

Surprised? Well, you should be.

Chris Gayle is the antithesis to the 2005 generated. Debuted in 1999, and he is still playing at the age of 42. 100 Test matches, a triple century, an ODI double century, 10000 ODI runs, 14000+ T20 runs (with 22 100s!), he is a legend. So how did he survive so long even though he can barely run?

The answer is enough breaks. While the 2005 generation succumbed to continuous burnout, Gayle was in-and-out of the international side, played T20 leagues around the world, and gave up first class/Test cricket in 2014 to prolong his career. A couple of World Cup wins also helps keeping the fire going.

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The Ones Who Survived

Here is an exhaustive list of players that served between 12-15+ years in international cricket. Notice that as we get further along, the list gets smaller.

Late 90s Generation: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid (India), Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Ricky Ponting (Australia), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)

2000-02 Generation: Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik (Still Playing), Brendon McCullum (NZ), Shane Watson (Australia), Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh (India), Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Hamilton Masakdza (Zimbabwe), Younis Khan, Misbah Ul-Haq, Shoaib Akthar (Pakistan)

2004-07 Generation: Ross Taylor (New Zealand), Brendon Taylor (Zimbabwe), Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad (England), Dale Steyn (South Africa)

The Surviving Outliers

The main point to notice here is that those who played continuous cricket from 2005-2015 retired too soon.

However, there are plenty of cricketers who did not get a chance early on or were in-and-out of their national sides, but are still available for selection today. These players include Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and the 2004 U-19 Cricket World Cup class of Shikhar Dhawan, Fawad Alam, Mahmudullah Riyadh, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Tim Paine, Moises Henriques, William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien, Wahab Riaz, who are still playing competitively and are available for international selection.

Since they did not get a chance earlier or play for lower-ranked teams, they are making the most of it now when opportunities finally came their way.

Hunger for success have caused these batch of cricketers to elongate their careers. To prove themselves as long as they are fit. Or to be a part of that elusive World Cup winning team.

Why Did The 2005 Generation Fall So Quickly?

Transition Periods

If we analyze these 10 cricketers who retired too early a bit more closer, we notice they mostly feature from England, South Africa, or Australia.

All of these teams went through a traumatic transition period. The 2013-15 period was especially stressful for England. While Mitchell Johnson dismantled the entire 2013 Test generation, forcing retirements of Trott, Pietersen, & Swann, the sacking of Cook in ODIs before 2015 World Cup would usher a new era in English cricket.

For South Africa, Grant Elliot’s semi-final six broke the gem of that South African team. AB De Villiers, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, & Vernon Philander were never the same again.

Finally, although Australia did not have it that rough, they have not really gotten back to the Warne-McGrath days. The Clarke era was the short transition between the longer lasting, Ponting & Steve Smith eras.

Frequency of World Cups

Before the 2007 T20 World Cup, world championships only happened once every 4 years. A decade earlier, we only had the 2003/2007 ODI World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup, and 2002/2006 Champions Trophy.

Teams were built on the premises of four-year cycles. With England & Australia, the Test Teams were formed with the next Ashes cycle in mind. Then followed 2009 (CT), 2010 (T20 WC), 2011 (CWC), 2012 (T20 WC), 2013 (CT), 2014 (T20 WC), 2015 (CWC), 2016 (T20 WC), 2017 (CT), 2019 (CWC), 2021 (World Test Championship).

Frequent trophies meant teams did not have to carry players for 4 years. An in-form player could be drafted while seasoned cricketers could be dropped with the upcoming ICC trophy in mind. Hence teams started to experiment more and started taking bold calls.

Case and point 2013 Champions Trophy—India dropped Sehwag, promoted Rohit Sharma, and went with an in-form Dhawan (seems like a history repeat itself moment with Dhawan in the 2021 T20 WC team).

Death of the All Format Player

Everything boils down to overkill of cricket and player burnout.

These cricketers who retired too early were raised on the backs of Test & ODI cricket. Almost everyone from the 90s era played both formats if they were good enough. With the entrance of T20 cricket, cricket began to be played all year long instead of season to season.

If you add captaincy to the 3 formats, that takes pressure & mental exhaustion to another level.

Openers Struggle

This still does not explain why Cook & Amla retired. They had given up captaincy towards the end, did not play all formats, and did not have new players vying for their spots either.

The obvious answer to this is form. Both Cook & Amla suffered drastic loss of forms, but so did openers worldwide.

Cook himself concluded that batting in England became tougher towards the end of his career. We can see from the Burns-Sibley partnership that it has not gotten better any since. It was not necesesarily that they were worse players, just that the conditions had become more difficult.

Kohli Shows The Way Forward

Three format players like KP and ABD prospered for a while, but it caught up with their health & form.

A decade later, it is clear that separate teams are now being picked for the 3 vastly different formats. Mental health conversations are in place. Fitness, physiotherapy, and analytics have jumped to another level altogether. Rest & rotation have been employed by certain teams to prolong the careers of cricketers.

This means that the current generation of the Fab 5 & Buttler-Stokes-Cummins-Rabada-Starc-Hazlewood-Bumrah have a better chance for longer careers and go back to the 15-year norms of the 90s. Who knows the COVID break might even have re-energized some to extend their careers.

However balance is key. Virat Kohli has already lead the way and given up IPL/T20I captaincy to manage workload and focus on other formats. If this generation of players have to survive, they might have to give up at least one format, release captaincy pressure, take mental health and paternity breaks, and keep up their fitness.

Greatness Achieved Nevertheless

Although Amla, Smith, Sehwag, Clarke, de Villiers stopped agonizingly close without reaching the coveted 10000 run-mark, it does not take away from the genius of these men.

Numbers are not everything. Although their tenure was short, their impact was not. They changed cricket for the better, and that is all that matters.

There are some players who will always give a sense that they left too early. Fans are left asking, ‘What If they had stayed on for a couple of years?’, ‘Maybe one more World Cup?’

We should just be grateful enough we witnessed some of the greatest cricketers of all time.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 09/23/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

Dale Steyn, The Embodiment of Simplicity and Intensity, Retires—The Greatest Fast Bowler of Them All

Everyone loves Dale Steyn—Simply the Greatest.

Famous French fashion designer Coco Chanel professed that “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”

Simplicity and Intensity were the hallmarks of Dale Steyn’s illustrious career—ever smiling character with a popping veins-chainsaw celebration, a smooth, silky action that delivered lethal bouncers, a humble down-to-earth character who assumed the mantle of being the greatest fast bowler of his generation.

Hence, it was true to his character that he hung up his boots via an understated tweet. He signed off with a snippet from the Counting Crows rock band and summed up the end as “bittersweet, but grateful…It’s been 20 years of training, matches, travel, wins, losses, strapped feet, jet lag, joy, and brotherhood.”

Table of Contents

  1. The Beginning
  2. Dale Steyn Stats – Strike Rate Like No Other
  3. Records
    1. Overall
    2. Individual
  4. Teams
  5. My Favorite Steyn Memory
  6. The Rise of Dale Steyn, Conqueror of All Conditions
    1. The King of Asia
  7. Steyn Vs AB De Villiers IPL
  8. The Injuries
  9. Climbing the Peak
  10. Who Is Dale Steyn, The Person?
    1. The Inspiration
    2. Other Interesting Steyn Facts
    3. The Match That Broke Dale Steyn
  11. The Downfall of the Great Era
    1. Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Rabada
  12. The Legacy of Dale Steyn
  13. Dale Steyn Vs Jimmy Anderson – Let Us Settle The Debate
  14. What Can We Learn From Dale Steyn?
    1. Life Lessons
  15. Dale Steyn Fast Bowling Videos
  16. Interested In Reading More Such Tributes? Check These Articles Below

The Beginning

Steyn was thrusted in the international arena after just seven first class games. He began his Test career on December 17, 2004 against England, debuting in the same match as the another-to-be legend, Abraham Benjamin de Villiers.

Both teams had great bowlers. On the opposite end—Steve Harmison, Simon Jones, Matthew Hoggard, and Andrew Flintoff (formed the core of the great 2005 Ashes series), while South Africa had the dependable duo of Shaun Pollock & Makhaya Ntini.

Then arrived a 21-year old boy in iconic fashion, going through the gates of Marcus Trescothick and breaking a 152-run opening partnership. In the 43rd over. Full and straight. Slight movement. He screamed. Crowd erupted.

Usually, one brilliant delivery in a match is good enough. However, the ball from Steyn’s debut that is remembered is that Michael Vaughan ball in the second innings. Good length, outswing, beats the bat, off stump rooted. Perfection.

Although South Africa eventually lost that match, they found someone would would win them the decade.

Dale Steyn Stats – Strike Rate Like No Other

Before we jump into his best hits, let us look over some numbers really quick.

We tend to focus on batting strike rate much more due to T20 cricket and increasing run-rates, but to understand what set Steyn apart, we need to understand bowling strike rate. Bowling strike rate is the number of balls taken per dismissal on average. The lower, the better.

Matches Wickets Best Strike Rate Average 5-fers 10-fers
Test (Overall)934397/51 (Innings)
11/60 (Match)
42.3022.95265
Test (Asia)22927/51 (Innings)
10/108 (Match)
42.924.1151
Steyn in Tests

MatchesWicketsBestStrike RateAverage5-fersEconomy
ODI1251966/3931.9025.9534.87
T20I47644/915.8018.352 (4-fers)6.94
T202282634/919.2022.004 (4-fers)6.85
Steyn in ODIs and T20Is

To put this into perspective, for those with at least 100 Test wickets, Waqar Younis (43.4), Shoaib Akhtar, (45.7), and Allan Donald (47) are the only other contemporary fast bowlers who were close to Steyn’s SR. From an earlier era, Malcolm Marshall (46.7) was the best, while Kagiso Rabada (41.2), Anrich Nortje, and Pat Cummins (47.1) are in the race right now.

Records

Overall

  • (42.30) 6th Best Strike Rate of All-Time, 3rd Best post-World War I. Only Shane Bond (38.7) & fellow countrymen Kagiso Rabada (41.2) higher
  • 3rd Fastest to 400 wickets, and the joint-fastest fast bowler to this mark alongside Sir Richard Hadlee (80 matches)
  • Most Test Wickets for South Africa, surpassing Shaun Pollock’s 421 wickets.
  • 8th Highest Wicket-Taker of All-Time (Only Muralitharan, Warne, Anderson*, Kumble, McGrath, Broad, Walsh ahead. None had a strike rate below 51.9)

Individual

  • ICC Test Cricketer of the Year (2008)
  • ICC Test Team of the Decade (2020)
  • #1 Ranked ICC Test Bowler (2008-2014) – 78 wickets at 16.24 in the 2007/08 season.

Teams

International: South Africa, Africa XI

Domestic: Eersterust Cricket Club, Titans, Northerns, Cape Cobras

IPL: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad

Other T20 Leagues: Cape Town Blitz (Mzansi Super League), Melbourne Stars, Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators, Kandy Tuskers

My Favorite Steyn Memory

My favorite aspect about Steyn was his action. Just a joy to watch. Anytime any format if Steyn is bowling, I would turn my TV on.

You see, the Shoaib Akthars and Lasith Malingas are legends in their own rights, but emulating their actions is a convoluted task. The two pace bowlers with almost perfect actions that I tried to imitate in gully cricket were Brett Lee and Dale Steyn. Uncomplicated yet effective.

To be perfectly honest, I do not remember his specific bowling figures from the top of my head. He has bowled so consistently over the decades that you only remember his iconic wickets or spells. More often than not he probably took a 4-fer or a 5-fer. Most times, I was scared for my favorite batter in the opposite camp, and that is the beauty of Dale Steyn—the ability to send shivers in the opposite camp but in an awe-inspiring, charming kind of manner.

The Rise of Dale Steyn, Conqueror of All Conditions

It would be difficult to go through all of his 29 5-fers, so let us talk about the greatest hits from Steyn’s career. Dropped after his early debut, he made a comeback. Against New Zealand, he would get his first five-fer in 2006.

He had memorable spells against England, Australia, and New Zealand. He took 5 wicket hauls in every condition and situation. Either with helpful seaming conditions or reverse swing.

He has literally taken a 5-fer against every country he played against.

Best Figures (Overall) Against This TeamBest Figures In This Country
Australia5/675/67
Bangladesh5/634/48
England5/515/56
India7/517/51
New Zealand6/493/49
Pakistan6/85/56
South Africa6/8
Sri Lanka5/545/54
U.A.E.4/98
West indies6/345/29
Zimbabwe5/465/46

The King of Asia

Steyn’s best figure was 7/51 at Nagpur in 2010, but it was his 5/23 in Ahmedabad (2008) that landed him in the lengdary fast bowling pantheon, when India were skittled out for 76 at home soil. His brilliant consistency in the 2008 series against India continued- 4/103 (Chennai), 5/23 & 3/91 (Ahmedabad), 3/71 (Kanpur).

In Sri Lanka, he lifted his game even more. 5/82 (2006), and beast mode in 2014 (5/54, 4/45, 2/69, 2/59). He even landed a 5/56 in Karachi (2007) and had a best innings of 4/48 in Bangladesh.

His best figures in South Africa was a miserly 6/8 when Pakistan were skittled for 49/10.

In limited overs, his record is decent as well although he did not play as many matches. 5 wickets in Nagpur against India in the 2011 World Cup, 4-0-17-4 figures while defending a thriller in the 2014 T20I World Cup, and a T20I economy of under-7 suggests he was a much better bowler than his T20 leagues returns suggest.

It would be grave injustice if I did not mention his batting. He was more than a useful down-the order player. Two Test fifties including a crucial 76 and a best of 60 in ODIs meant he was a better than a tailender, but not quite an all-rounder. Kemar Roach-esque batting abilities.

Steyn Vs AB De Villiers IPL

Another riveting memory is the 2012 IPL game between Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinawamy. 24 runs in one over. The inside out shot was the best of them all and even got a wry smile from Steyn in appreciationg of ABD’s class.

The brilliance of that passage of play was two players at the top of their games in a pressure situation and for once, Steyn had lost to his fellow countrymen.

Which phase of Dale Steyn was the most memorable or heartbreaking for you?

The Injuries

Another miraculous part of Steyn’s journey was his career of two halves—with respect to injuries.

Usually a fast bowler succumbs to an injury early in their career and comes back stronger, more well built (like Pat Cummins). An injury in the middle of the career means lowering the pace and focusing on line & length (like Munaf Patel). Another extreme is Brett Lee or Shane Bond (always injured, played cricket in between without compromising speed).

Steyn completely escaped this phase and never lost control, momentum, or pace. However, the law of averages came back to bite him at the end of his career.

Injury. Rehabilitation. Few games. Repeat.

  • 2013 (Groin Strain, Side Strain)
  • 2014 (Rib Fracture, 3 Hamstring Strains)
  • 2015 (Groin Strain)
  • 2015-16 (Shoulder Injury)
  • 2017 (Freak heel injury)
  • 2019 (Shoulder Injury) after being selected into the ODI World Cup squad

Climbing the Peak

Although his goal was to lift a trophy with South Africa, there was always a personal goal—to go one past Shaun Pollock. After numerous injuries, he got back up on his feet and on Boxing Day 2018, he took his 422nd wicket to become the leading wicket-taker for South Africa.

It was probably fate that Shaun Pollock would be commentating on that exact moment. Watch the video below to relieve that moment and all of his major milestone wickets till then.

After his shoulder injury again just before South Africa’s 2019 campaign started (and derailed), he announced on 5 August 2019 he would retire from Tests to focus on limited overs cricket. He ended at 439 after going past 400 in 2014.

Loss of form, pandemic, and postponement of the T20 World Cups meant it was time to retire in the other formats as well.

Steyn goes past Shaun Pollock, thereby becoming the highest wicket-taker for South Africa in Test cricket.

Who Is Dale Steyn, The Person?

Now that we know how good Steyn is as a bowler, let us get an insight on who the person he truly is—what really makes Dale Steyn kick. He has a life outside cricket, ya know? Thankfully, his interviews, especially this ESPNCricinfo’s Cricket Monthly interview with Nagraj Gollapudi, provides us a glimpse into his life.

Dale Steyn was born in the small town of Phalaborwa in the Limpopo Province (borders Kruger National Park in South Africa). Maybe the natural environment around him had an effect of him since he became an out-doorsy kind of person. Skateboarding, surfing, and fishing are some of his favorite hobbies. He even flexed his acting muscles for a cameo role in a Drew Barrymore-Adam Sandler movie Blended.

The Inspiration

He is a natural athlete who competed at various sports from an early level. 100 meter sprints, long jump, triple jump, high jumps all prepared him for long spells of bowling in Test match arena. He wanted to be like “Allan Donald through the air, but I wanted to land the ball the way Polly landed.. I wanted to be a faster version of Shaun Pollock.

The best of both worlds.

Steyn said that the “difference between a good fast bowler and a brilliant fast bowler is the wickets column.” He always backed himself to take wickets regardless of the condition and taking 5-fers in every Test playing nation was one of his goals. Here is his collection of souvenir cricket balls.

In order to rise to this level, he has had a lot of support from his coaches, Chris van Noordwyk, Vinnie Barnes, Geoff Clarke, and captains, Graeme Smith, AB De Villiers, and Hashim Amla.

Other Interesting Steyn Facts

There were couple of other cool snippets in there as well. Keeping his cool against dropped catches, facing the Kohlis and de Villiers, altercation with Michael Clarke, Tests vs ODIs, Tendulkar Vs Donald, and video analysis & field settings.

A fun fact is that his full run up is 19 meters, 21 steps, which helps him avoid bowling no-balls. Why is this important? Well because he once took a wicket on a no-ball early in the innings, and it cost his team dearly. The batter was Kumar Sangakkara and the innings became famous for the record 624 partnership with Mahela Jayawardene.

(If you want to learn how Steyn learned about cricket in the first place, hear it from the man himself. Interesting story).

The Match That Broke Dale Steyn

It is time to talk about that World Cup semi-final. In Faf Du Plessis & AB De Villiers’ Friendship article, we spoke about the 2015 World Cup match.

Ian Smith on commentary. Grant Elliot. Superman. It hurt AB De Villers & Faf du Plessis. Definitely hurt Morne Morkel. Probably ended Vernon Philander’s career. We never saw Miller 1.0 again. The entire team. Devastated.

Now for a moment, let us put ourselves into Dale Steyn’s shoe. He dominated the world between 2008 and 2015. Responsibility for the last over of a World Cup semi-final rested on his shoulders (which would literally break a year later). South Africa’s history of collapses and chokes running in the background.

How must have it felt. Carrying the burden of the nation, the tag of the best fast bowler of the generation. One good ball, and you are in the legendary books. One bad ball, and you are scarred for life. Vettori squeezing a wide yorker, chaos in the field, overthrow chances. Steyn calm under pressure. Yet a half-volley in the small grounds of Auckland and Elliot did not miss his chance to glory.

Six. South Africa out. Steyn changed forever.

He reveals how he knew he was going to bowl the final over irrespective of Brendon McCullum’s expensive assault earlier in the innings. After all, he defended 7 runs in the 2014 T20 World Cup match against the same opposition. (He ended with 4-0-17-4 in Bangladesh. Wow). “This year was the hardest in dealing with that pain after the World Cup…We had our chances to win the game…Knowing that you have put four years’ hard work in, especially the last two years before the tournament, all you see is yourself holding the trophy. And then you don’t.”

The Downfall of the Great Era

With Steyn’s retirement, this is the close of one of the better chapters in South African cricket (Technically Faf and Tahir are still available for T20 World Cup selection, but have not been selected recently). All of them deserve a separate article.

Herschelle Gibbs was the architect of that 438 chase. Graeme Smith was the young leader who could bat with a broken hand. The pure class of Hashim Amla & AB De Villiers was unmatched. Faf’s leadership & resilience and once-in-a-generation-allrounder, Jacques Kallis, are often underrated. JP Duminy & Mark Boucher were the utility players every team needs for balance.

Steyn, Morkel, Philander, Rabada

Donald, Ntini, and Pollock passed on the baton to Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Kagiso Rabada—possibly the greatest line up (if only for just a few Tests). Philander’s swing made him the second fastest to 50 wickets, while Morne’s height and action bamboozled one and all. Rabada will soon form his leagacy of his own, and Imran Tahir was the energy boost South Africa required.

Together, they conquered teams overseas and became the No. 1 Test Team of the decade, the only ones to really challenge the great 2000s Australia team consistently and win away from home in the 2010s.

The future of South Africa lies with Quinton de Kock, Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Janneman Malan (100+ average in 9 ODIs by the way), Keshav Maharaj, and Tabraiz Shamsi. This is a pretty solid core, but it will take quite a few generations to reach the heights of Steyn’s South African team.

The Legacy of Dale Steyn

To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves what is great fast bowling?

Is it swinging it like Jimmy Anderson? Putting fear in the opposition’s heart like a Mitchell Johnson or Shoaib Akhtar? Delivering consistent line and lengths like Glenn McGrath & Shaun Pollock? Having a seamless action like Brett Lee? Bowling yorkers at will like a Mitchell Starc? Reverse swing like Waqar Younis?

Imagine all of these players. Package them into one. Add a tinge of humbleness with Sam Curran’s ability to make things happen. There you have it. Dale Steyn, the greatest Test pace bowler of all time.

The 1980s had Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, and the West Indies fast bowlers. The 1990s with was dominated by the Pakistan duo Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee all played stellar roles in this era as well. Steyn, Akhtar, and Lee a carried the baton to the next generation and made sure that “fast bowling is cool.” In the age of T20 cricket where sixes are hit on will, Steyn played his part in extending the beauty of pace bowling. The fact that Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have arrived on the scene has to be credited to senior bowlers like Steyn & Morkel.

He ends that interview with, “The moment I feel I can’t contribute anymore I will not hang on. And if I fall just short of 100 Test matches or five short of 500 Test wickets, that’s fine.”

Unfortunately, that his how it ended. 7 short of a 100 Tests and 61 short of 500 wickets. Legendary career nevertheless.

Dale Steyn Vs Jimmy Anderson – Let Us Settle The Debate

Both Anderson and Steyn are in awe of each other. Steyn describes Anderson as “a more skillful bowler…I am a fan,” in Sky Sports’ Lockdown special, while Anderson’s tribute tweet to his retirement was that Steyn was “The Best.”

Every generation, there are three to five great fast bowlers but maybe one all-time great. We should be grateful we had two. Jimmy Anderson, the greatest swing bowler in the history of Test cricket and Dale Steyn, the greatest pace bowler of all-time.

Let us appreciate both and cheer on Jimmy Anderson in whatever time he has left.

What Can We Learn From Dale Steyn?

Being at the top for over a decade requires immense discipline and fitness levels.

It is one thing to be a great fast bowler. Another to comeback with the same intensity. Not once, not twice. But thrice. My heart sank when his freak heel injury occurred, a sign that the end was near.

I just wanted him to bowl some more. Another Test. Just another spell. Maybe one more over.

Every good thing comes to an end, and so does his magnificent career. I am sure he will continue to inspire athletes around the world and mentor fast bowlers like he did in his career. We will all miss watching Dale Steyn dominate the best batting attacks around the world. I will miss that anger, speed, cartwheeling stumps, celebration, and of course, the action.

Life Lessons

Kids, if you are reading this and want to make a sports person your idol, there is no one better than the great Dale Steyn. So what can we learn from Dale Steyn?

Give it your all on the field and be a decent human being off it. Steyn might have shown plenty of emotions in intense situations, but outside the cricket ground, he is a super chill dude who likes to fish and stay away from conflict.

The truth is that being gifted alone cannot make you great. Simplicity. Honesty. Hard work. Discipline. Consistency. Longevity. Adaptability. You need all characteristics to work in sync.

Steyn was gifted. Not everyone can bowl at such high pace. If you are talented in a particular area and enjoy doing it, you should pursue it further. In order to convert the potential into actual realization, persevere and power through.

You will eventually find your away. Just like a Steyn outswinger that beat the bat and rattled the top of off stump.

Dale Steyn Fast Bowling Videos

  1. What the Aussies Think of Dale Steyn
  2. Steyn Vs David Warner-World’s Most Curious Battle
  3. 6 Wickets Durban Vs India (2010)
  4. Bowleds, Beats, and Bouncers

Interested In Reading More Such Tributes? Check These Articles Below

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 09/03/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

KKR Vs RCB IPL 2021 Match 10 Review: Maxwell, ABD Show As RCB Top Table

KKR Vs RCB – IPL 2021 Match #10 Quick Review! Maxwell, AB De Villiers show their class, while KKR’s problems get exposed again.

Match Details, Scorecard, & Video Highlights

Scorecard: KKR Vs RCB Video Highlights

Toss: RCB won the toss and chose to bat first.

Venue: MA Chidambram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai

Umpires: Chettithody Shamshuddin & Nitin Menon

What Actually Happened

  • Winner: Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 38 runs
  • Scores: RCB 204/4KKR 166/8
  • Player of the Match: AB De Villiers 76* (34)
  • Best Figures
    • Varun Chakravarthy – 2/39
    • Kyle Jamieson – 3/41
  • Most Runs
    • Glenn Maxwell – 78 (49)
    • Andre Russell – 31 (20)

Moments of The Day:

The IPL is full of surprises and memorable moments. Here are my moments of today:

  • Varun Chakravarthy’s Start – KKR has developed a strategy of bowling 4-5 overs of spin in the powerplay at Chennai, courtesy Harbhajan, Shakib, & Varun. Varun took out Virat Kohli & Rajat Patidar. RCB 9-2 in 2 overs. Dream start.
  • Eoin Morgan’s captaincy – In order to ‘save’ X-factor Varun for AB De Villiers, Varun was immediately switched out for Shakib Al Hasan. Glenn Maxwell capitalized, momentum shifted, and Bangalore never looked back. Morgan is an All-Time great captain, but certain decisions about England (Woakes, Moeen Ali, Alex Hales) & KKR (batting order, bowling match-ups) have been 50-50 recently.
  • Glenn Maxwell & Virat Kohli’s reactions – Maxwell is having as great of an IPL year as the 2014 season with a couple of game changing 50s in the slow pitch of Chennai. The switch hit six to Chakravarthy was definitely my moment of the game yesterday.

Honorable Mentions: Brilliant catch by Rahul Tripathi; Harshal Patel & Mohammad Siraj at the death (combined figures of 7-0-34-2 in a chase of 205)

World T20 Spotlight: Time For AB De Villiers’ South Africa Comeback?

It is confirmed, AB De Villiers will have a conversation about a possible South Africa return for the World T20 with Mark Boucher at the end of the IPL. It has been evident in the two IPLs that ABD still has it. Only AB De Villiers has been able to finish things off in style at the Chepauk.

  • ABD eclipsed Maxwell’s show with a masterclass – 76* (34) with 3 sixes. RCB finished with 70 runs in the last 5 overs, with the death overs specialist, Andre Russell, conceding 38 in his two.

The real question is, will South Africa even have a team in the World T20?

Broken Cricket Dream of the Day: Shakib Al Hasan & Andre Russell

  • Andre Russell brought KKR close with overs worth 20 & 15 runs respectively, but it was his lack of fitness (missed several ones & twos) that could have brought KKR closer. The 1-run 19th over against Siraj was extremely painful to watch from a KKR point of view (great wide yorkers by Siraj by the way). Is it time to rest Russell & play Ben Cutting?
  • While Russell has been a hit-or-miss for KKR, Shakib has been missing in action altogether. Giving away 24 runs in his two overs & 26 (25) when big hitting was required. Looks low on confidence. Not good signs for KKR, especially with Morgan-DK struggling in the middle and Harbhajan-Cummins holding places that are better off for Pawan Negi-Lockie Ferguson. Maybe even a Tim Seifert could do wonders.

Also, we got featured on the #GoodBadRidiculous again with Melinda Farrell & Bharat Sundaresan! Have a listen below (discussion around our nomination starts around 16 minutes).

IPL 2021 Points Table, Orange Cap, & Purple Cap Leaders

No need to go elsewhere for the Points Table, Orange Cap, & Purple Cap. We will keep updating it in every article!

  • Shikhar Dhawan 186 runs (DC, 3 matches) [Earlier in the day, Glenn Maxwell (176) briefly overtook Rana (155)]
  • Harshal Patel – 9 wickets (RCB, 3 matches)
TeamsPlayedWonLostTied
No-Result
PointsNet Run Rate
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore33006+ 0.75
2. Delhi Capitals32104+0.453
3. Mumbai Indians32104+0.367
4. Chennai Super Kings21102+0.616
5. Rajasthan Royals2 1102+0.052
6. Kolkata Knight Riders31202-0.633
7. Punjab Kings31202-0.967
8. Sunrisers Hyderabad30300-0.483
IPL 2021 Points Table

Also, if you have not yet read our IPL Previews, here is a list of all of them! Check them out and share ahead:

  1. Chennai Super Kings – CSK Preview
  2. Delhi Capitals – DC Preview
  3. Kolkata Knight Riders – KKR Preview
  4. Mumbai Indians – MI Preview
  5. Punjab Kings – PBKS Preview
  6. Rajasthan Royals – RR Preview
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore – RCB Preview
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad – SRH Preview

Copyright (2021: 4/12/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

Home » AB De Villiers

IPL Match 1 Review: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Vs Mumbai Indians (MI)

RCB Vs MI – IPL 2021 Match 1 Short & Sweet Review!

Match Details: Scorecard, Video Highlights, & More!

Scorecard: Match 1: RCB Vs MI Video Highlights

Venue: MA Chidambram Stadium, Chennai

Toss: RCB won the Toss and chose to field first (Yes Virat Kohli really did win a toss)

Umpires: KN Ananthapadmanabhan & Nitin Menon

My Pre-Match Prediction

What Actually Happened

  • Winner: RCB won by 2 wickets
  • Player of the Match: Harshal Patel (5/27 & 4*)
  • Best Figures
    • Harshal Patel (RCB) – 5/27
    • Jasprit Bumrah (MI) – 4/26
  • Most Runs
    • Chris Lynn – 49 (35)
    • AB De Villiers – 48 (27)

Moments of The Day

The IPL is full of surprises and memorable moments. Here are my moments of today:

Surprises

  • Washington Sundar opens….the BATTING: In a slow Chennai pitch, it was surprising to see Sundar & Maxwell bowling a combined total of 1 over (and Sundar taking a wicket). On the other hand, he came out to bat with Virat Kohli in absence of Devdutt Padikkal.
  • Harshal Patel Announces His Arrival: A major Indian first class player in recent times, he has never really lived up to his potential. Traded two years ago to the Delhi Capitals from RCB, he repaid their faith in style. After conceding 15 in his first over, came back with slower deliveries, yorkers, bowleds to get a 5-fer & almost a hat-trick. Hope it is a sign for big things to come. Also the first player to take a 5-fer against the Mumbai Indians in ALL 14 seasons.
  • AB De Villiers Is Still The Best In 2021: Last played in IPL 2020’s eliminator, he was timing it beautifully where most struggled!

Honorable Mentions: RCB’s collapse, Maxwell’s fluency, LynnSanity, & decent tall debuts by Marco Jansen & Kyle Jamieson were the other major moments today.

Rahul Dravid Breaks The Internet

But the best moment of all…actually happened right before the game. Rahul Dravid at his hilarious best—check this video out!

Also Read: What Rahul Dravid Taught Me

Broken Cricket Dream of the Day

  • Virat Kohli: Dropped the catch and almost injured his eye. The bruise was evident for the rest of the game. Hope it is okay
  • #BrokenCricketBats: Krunal Pandya actually broke his bat defending Jamieson’s delivery!
  • The Dropped Catches: The standard of catching in the IPL is depreciating by the year. Brilliant boundary saves & run-outs at one end and dropping dollies on the other. Mohammad Siraj, Virat Kohli, & Rohit Sharma the culprits today.Net

IPL 2021 Points Table

No need to go elsewhere for the Points Table. We will keep updating it in every article!

TeamsPlayedWonLostTied/No-ResultPointsNet Run Rate
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore11002+0.05
2. Mumbai Indians 10100-0.05
Chennai Super Kings
Delhi Capitals
Kolkata Knight Riders
Punjab Kings
Rajasthan Royals
Sunrisers Hyderabad
IPL 2021 Points Table

Tomorrow’s Preview

The Chennai Super Kings take on Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede in Mumbai.

  • MS Dhoni Vs Rishabh Pant
  • Watch Out For: The return of Ishant Sharma & Amit Mishra (DC)
  • Questions: Rahane Vs Smith, Tom Curran Vs Umesh Yadav Vs Ishant Sharma
  • Watch Out For: Faf Du Plessis, Robin Uthappa, Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK)
  • Questions: Fate of Suresh Raina, Moeen Ali Vs Sam Curran Vs Dwayne Bravo Vs Imran Tahir

My Prediction: Delhi Capitals win

Comment on your thoughts below and share ahead!

If you have not yet read our IPL Previews, here is a list of all of them! Check them out and share ahead:

  1. Chennai Super Kings – CSK Preview
  2. Delhi Capitals – DC Preview
  3. Kolkata Knight Riders – KKR Preview
  4. Mumbai Indians – MI Preview
  5. Punjab Kings – PBKS Preview
  6. Rajasthan Royals – RR Preview
  7. Royal Challengers Bangalore – RCB Preview
  8. Sunrisers Hyderabad – SRH Preview

IPL 2021 Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview: It is Now or Never for Kohli & ABD

Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview time.

Virat Kohli has had a rough time converting his 50s to three figures recently, but his T20I form is still stellar, receiving the Player of the Series award in the India Vs England T20I series.

The real question is when will Kohli-ABD convert the semi-finals & finals into IPL trophies? I think 2021 is RCB’s year. Keep on reading this preview.

Also Read: IPL 2021 Auctions Review, RCB All-Time XI

IPL History

2009, 2011, 2016 – (Runners Up), 2010, 2015 – (3rd), 2020 – (4th)

How Did They Do Last Year?

4th. Probably an accurate reflection. When RCB edged out KKR & KXIP narrowly for the fourth spot, not many complained. When RCB crashed out at the hands of Kane Williamson, nobody complained either.

  • Yuzvendra Chahal was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 21 wickets.
  • Devdutt Padikkal did not seem like the ‘new kid on the block.’ Scored 473 runs as an opener and played some mature knocks.
  • The S factor – Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar might not have had the best IPL 2020, but in Australia, they formed the bowling core of the 3rd and 4th Tests. Their maturity was brilliant to watch.

Also Read: Life Lessons From India’s Tour of Australia

Injury & COVID-19 News

Devdutt Padikkal has tested postive for coronavirus. He might not make the first two games due to quarantine protocols. Big blow for RCB, and not the only one.

Josh Philippe has withdrawn days before the IPL for personal reasons. The only good news is that Finn Allen, who just scored a whirlwind 71(29) against Bangladesh in a T20I, is recruited as a replacement.

Complete Royal Challengers Bangalore Squad

Batsman: Virat Kohli*, Devdutt Padikkal, Rajat Patidar, Sachin Baby, Suyash Prabhudessai

WK: Srikar Bharat, Mohammed Azharuddeen

All-Rounders: Pavan Deshpande, Harshal Patel, Shahbaz Ahmed

Fast Medium: Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar

Spinners: Yuzvendra Chahal

Overseas: Finn Allen, Dan Christian, AB de Villiers, Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Adam Zampa

Withdrawn: Josh Philippe

Predicted RCB XI

The Padikkal absence and Kohli’s insistence of Kohli-Sharma T20I opening partnership can change things up for RCB. One option is a Kohli-Azharuddeen partnership at the top. Alternatively, pair Finn Allen up at the top, drop everyone one spot, and replace one of Christian or Jamieson.

1. Mohammed Azharuddeen, 2.*Virat Kohli (C), 3. AB de Villiers (WK)4. Glenn Maxwell5. Daniel Christian6. Washington Sundar, 7. Kyle Jamieson/Daniel Sams/Adam Zampa, 8. Shahbaz Ahmed/Harshal Patel, 9. Mohammed Siraj, 10. Navdeep Saini, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

*Devdutt Padikkal slots in at 2 whenever he recovers with everyone moving down a slot.

Watch Out For

  • Virat Kohli, the opener. 2016 season all over again? Maybe a little change is all Virat needs to get back in top gear.
  • Mohammed Azharuddeen lit up the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a 37-ball 100 and ended up as the third highest run scorer in the tournament. If Azharuddeen-Padikkal can form a solid opening partnership at the top, the middle order can be really destructive.
  • Jamieson has seen lots of highs & lows recently with the IPL auction & the Australia T20I series, but the one to really watch out would be Dan Christian. A veteran and winner of almost all T20 championships, he is the fix that RCB never had. Overdependence on Kohli-ABD no more. With Maxwell, Dan Christan, and insurance policy of Sundar and Jamieson below, RCB finally have the consistent finishing.

Where Can Things Go Wrong For the Challengers?

All good, except they no longer play in Bangalore. With 8 games combined in Chennai & Kolkata, the likes of Maxwell & Christian might struggle. However, the spin duo of Sundar-Chahal might come to the rescue.

No other major flaws as long as Saini-Siraj can keep their economy rates in check.

Venues & Fixtures

Venues

Kolkata- 5, Ahmedabad- 4, Chennai- 3, Mumbai- 2

Fixtures

  • 9 April: MI vs RCB (Chennai)
  • 14 April: SRH vs RCB (Chennai)
  • 18 April: RCB vs KKR (Chennai)
  • 22 April: RCB vs RR (Mumbai)
  • 25 April: CSK vs RCB (Mumbai)
  • 27 April: DC vs RCB (Ahmedabad)
  • 30 April: PBKS vs RCB (Ahmedabad)
  • 3 May: KKR vs RCB (Ahmedabad)
  • 6 May: RCB vs PBKS (Ahmedabad)
  • 9 May: RCB vs SRH (Kolkata)
  • 14 May: RCB vs DC (Kolkata)
  • 16 May: RR vs RCB (Kolkata)
  • 20 May: RCB vs MI (Kolkata)
  • 23 May: RCB vs CSK (Kolkata)
  • 25 May: Qualifier 1 (Ahmedabad)
  • 26 May: Eliminator (Ahmedabad)
  • 28 May: Qualifier 2 (Ahmedabad)
  • 30 May: Final (Ahmedabad)

Prediction

Prediction1st
Most Runs Virat Kohli
Most WicketsWashington Sundar
Emerging PlayerMohammad Azharuddeen
Surprise PackageFinn Allen
X FactorDan Christian/ AB De Villiers
Broken Cricket DreamGlenn Maxwell. Less of a broken dream, more of a warning. If Maxwell fails again, he would be the next Aaron Finch. Not to be picked in future auctions.
Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview Predictions

What do you think of the Royal Challengers Bangalore Preview? Your First XI? Will they make the IPL 2021 qualifiers?

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Copyright (2021: 4/3/2021)– @Nitesh Mathur, aka Nit-X – bcd@brokokencricketdreams.com

IPL 2020: The Dream Teams

With the end of IPL 2020, fans and experts chipped in with their choices of the Dream Teams. Recently, social media went ablaze with Virender Sehwag’s highly debated IPL XI. Virat Kohli and David Warner at 4 and 5—it is easy to see why that was the case.

So I decided to join the party!

Here is my IPL XIs, with a couple of twists, of course.

Today’s Twist:

I will build two IPL Dreams today—the Obvious XI and the Non-Obvious XI. The goal is to see if my team could beat the Obvious Team of the Tournament. Here are the rules:

  • Have at least one uncapped player in each team
  • The IPL rules apply – 4 foreign players maximum
  • A wicketkeeper and 5 bowling options are necessary
  • The Obvious XI will contain the winners of the Orange Cap, Purple Cap, and MVP awards
  • The two teams should not have any overlap.

The Catch:

In IPL 2020, the foreign fast bowlers were on fire—Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, but how many can you fit in? Additionally, the Indian squad have prolific wicketkeeper batsmen, but will all of them make it?

Tough choices to make…

IPL XI – The Dream Teams

The Non-Obvious XI

Here is my choice — the not-so-obvious Dream Team.

*Note: Bolded players represent the foreign players

  1. Mayank Agarwal
  2. Wriddhiman Saha (WK)
  3. David Warner (C)
  4. Suryakumar Yadav (U)
  5. Kane Williamson
  6. Sam Curran
  7. Rahul Tewatia (U)
  8. Anrich Nortje
  9. Thangarasu Natarajan (U)
  10. Varun Chakravarthy (U)
  11. Mohammad Shami

*WK – Wicketkeeper, C – Captain, U – Uncapped

In the batting front, this team has sparkling openers, the experience of Warner and Williamson, Suryakumar Yadav’s flamboyance, and Sam Curran/Tewatia as floaters.

With Sam Curran and Shami as the opening swing bowlers, Nortje as the pace spearhead, Natarajan as the designated death bowler, the mystery of Varun, and the leg-spin of Tewatia, the bowling line-up is balanced. If necessary, even cool Kane Williamson can role over his arm.

The Obvious XI

  1. Shikhar Dhawan
  2. KL Rahul (WK)
  3. Devdutt Padikkal (U)
  4. AB De Villiers (C)
  5. Ishan Kishan
  6. Hardik Pandya
  7. Rashid Khan
  8. Jofra Archer
  9. Kagiso Rabada
  10. Jasprit Bumrah
  11. Yuzvendra Chahal

*Orange Cap (Most Runs), Purple Caps (Most Wickets), Most Valuable Player (MVP)

With left-right hand combination (overrated but still) till No. 6 and bowling line-up of the decade, this is a pretty strong team. So, you decide, can my team defeat the Obvious XI?

Jofra Archer vs. David Warner, anybody? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW! Let us know of your IPL XI as well!

Honorable Mentions:
  • Quinton De Kock, Trent Boult, Jason Holder, Ben Stokes, Marcus Stoinis, Faf du Plessis, Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Abdul Samad, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi

I had a tough time leaving QDK and Boult out. Both were magnificent, but the 4-foreign player quota came into the equation.

Notice something? None of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, or Shreyas Iyer (captains of 3 of the top 4 teams) make it into either of my XIs or the honorable mentions.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this…COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW! Also share ahead and subscribe to our email list below:

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Conclusion

This was a peculiar tournament in terms of player performance. While the foreign players and the Indian uncapped players impressed, the current and former Indian players disappointed.

Although Dhawan, Kohli, and Iyer were among the runs, none of them looked consistently convincing. Similarly, former IPL stars like Robin Uthappa and 2019 World Cup squad members — Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, and Kuldeep Yadav — all had a sub-par season.

On the other hand, a 15-member squad could be created out of the impressive uncapped youngsters themselves:

  • Padikkal, Gaikwad, Kishan, Suryakumar, Garg, Samad, Sharma, Nagarkoti, Mavi, Bishnoi, Varun, Natarajan, Arshdeep, Tyagi, Prasidh Krishna

IPL 2020 was the beginning of the end of the 2007 T20 World Cup and IPL 2008 era. The early stars are slowly fading away in the background, while the newer generation are storming to the forefront.

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Image Courtesy: Getty, Suryakumar Yadav – Sirshak9927, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

My Favorite Player from Each Country: Unity In Diversity XI – #5 Will Shock You

“Is there any player you do not like?” asked a friend.

The question stumped me.

I have always remembered loving the game and enjoyed watching cricket on TV, no matter what team or player was playing. One of my fondest childhood cricketing memories was even playing a Bangladesh vs. Zimbabwe Test Series with a friend although we were not from either country. We would memorize every players’ names, imitate each bowling action, and change our batting styles accordingly.

This got me thinking. Why not create A World XI with favorite players from every major cricketing nation?

Today’s Twist – Unity in Diversity:

Create a World XI squad consisting of exactly 1 player from each country. Here are the rules:

  • Pick a player from each of the 12 Test playing nations
  • Pick one more player from an Associate Nation for a total of 13 players.
  • The team should be able to field in an actual match – at least one wicketkeeper and 5 bowling options are necessary

The Catch:

The team should be diverse enough to represent any format – Test, ODI, and T20. Alastair Cook and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are two of my favorite players. Although they would be ideal candidates for an All-Time Test XI, they may struggle in the T20 era.

Who are your favorite players from each country? Comment below with your XI!

The choice for the Associate player would be interesting to see. Maybe it is from a Netherlands team that surprised England in the 2009 T20 World Cup or from the classic Kenya team from 2003? Steve Tikolo, the Obuyas, and Odoyo, remember?

Without further ado, here is my All-Time Favorite XI.

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Unity in Diversity XI

Note, my team only consists of players from the last 20 years.

  1. Rahul Dravid (IND) The Wall—architect of India’s greatest Test victories. My Role-Model.
  2. Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL) Inventor of the Dilscoop. Energetic cricketer, opener, and fielder
  3. Younis Khan (PAK) Tenacious. Beautiful Batting style, conversion rate, and studious?
  4. Ross Taylor (NZ) Does anyone have a better leg side slog? Underrated ODI player.
  5. Nicholas Pooran (WI)WK I think he is the next big talent in West Indies Cricket.
  6. Paul Collingwood (ENG) C Calm captain, good all-rounder, and best fielder of all time.
  7. Shakib Al Hasan (BAN) Bangladesh superstar and one-of the best all rounder of all-time.
  8. Ryan Ten Doeschate (NETH) Averages 67 in ODI cricket after 33 ODIs. A delight to watch.
  9. Rashid Khan (AFG) How much has he achieved already at this age? And the googlies
  10. Brett Lee (AUS) Pace, smooth action, best chainsaw celebration, and great musician
  11. Dale Steyn (SA) Best Test fast bowler? Intensity in the eyes and overseas record
  12. Brendon Taylor (ZIM) Zimbabwe’s best in the current era. Easy on the eye.
  13. Niall O’Brien (IRE) Starred in the upset vs Pakistan in 2007 WC. Love his commentary!

Honorable Mentions

This was a really tough exercise. Maybe even harder than All-Time Test or ODI XIs. Here are just some of the others I considered.

  • INDDinesh Karthik, Mohammad Kaif, Robin Uthappa, and the Golden Generation – Sachin/Sehwag/VVS/Ganguly/Zaheer/Harbhajan/Yuvraj/Raina/MSD
  • SL – Sangakkara-Jayawardene and the M Factor – Mendis, Malinga, Murali
  • Pak – Mohammad Yousuf, Babar Azam, and numerous bowlers including the recently retired Umar Gul
  • NZ: How does one not like every player from New Zealand? Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Dan Vettori, and all the rest. Lockie Ferguson – KKR fans?
  • WI – Chanderpaul, Brian Lara, the Universe Boss, and captain Darren Sammy
  • ENG – Marcus Trescothick, Cook, Ian Bell, Jimmy Anderson, Jos Buttler, KP
  • BAN – The Fab Five
  • Associate Nations – Coetzer/Sharif (Scotland)
  • AFG – Mohammad Nabi
  • AUS – Adam Gilchrist
  • SA – Faf Du Plessis, AB De Villiers, Amla, Graeme Smith, Kallis, Morne Morkel, Quinton de Kock
  • ZIM – Tatenda Taibu, Andy Blignaut
  • IRE – Kevin O’Brien, Tim Murtagh, Porterfield, and Eoin Morgan (oops different country now)
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Reflection

I love underdog stories and love discussing cricket at every opportunity.

Whether it is the IPL or a hard fought day of test cricket, The Ashes or the India-Pakistan rivalry, a World Cup Final or the group stage of a qualifying tournament, women’s or men’s cricket, be assured, I will be following.

Diversity is such a beautiful thing. It is completely okay to be a fan of various different players from different countries. As long as the on-field battle is competitive, the game is fair, sportsmanship moments are abundant, and cricket continues to grow, that is all we need.

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON CRICKET, COMMENT Below on your All-Time Favorites, and SUBSCRIBE!

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Sources: Vandit (Friend), cricket.com.au, IPLT20.com

Image Courtesy: Getty Images, Sachin Tendulkar – British High Commission, New Delhi, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Faf du Plessis & AB De Villiers’ Friendship: Broken Dreams of Faf and ABD

In this world, nothing is certain except death, taxes, and South Africa failing to win a World Cup. Faf and ABD know this too well. South African fans know this too well. The 2015 semi-final still hurts (as if the 1999, 1992, 2007, and 2011 World Cups were not bad enough).

Just to rub salt in the wound, even England (and kind of New Zealand) won in 2019 while South Africa endured a dismal campaign.

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This image still resonates. Dale Steyn on his knee, Grant Elliot in a moment of great sportsmanship. On the other side, captain AB de Villiers in tears and Morne Morkel—completely shattered.

Faf and ABD: Tale of Two Heroes

Fast forward to September 2020. The IPL is back. So are Faf and ABD.

Usually it is the West Indians who dominate T20 leagues, but this IPL has been South Africa’s so far. In IPL 2020, Anrich Nortje has been a revelation, while Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock continue to show the world why they are South Africa’s torchbearers to the next generation.

If you saw AB De Villiers’ finishing assault on Bumrah or Faf’s consistency in batting and acrobatic catches, you know that they still have it.

Initially, I was going to write two separate articles about Abraham de Villiers and Francois du Plessis, but that is not possible. You just cannot separate them. They are like brothers from another mothers. If AB is the graceful artist, Faf is the resilient leader. Both are legends of South African cricket.

Today we will talk their careers, their friendship, the heartbreak, what could have been, and what could still be.

While AB De Villiers has retired from international cricket (for the time being), Faf continues on. Can Faf fulfill the broken dream of ABD and win South Africa a trophy?

*as of 19 November 2021, AB De Villiers has retired from all cricket because “the flame no longer burns.” Faf Du Plessis himself was ignored from South Africa’s team for the 2021 T20 World Cup and has retired from Tests.

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*Please subscribe to never miss an article! Comment below on your favorite memories of ABD and Faf, and share ahead!

The Beginning

AB de Villers and Faf Du Plessis have been competing on and off the cricket field since middle school. They both went to the same school and university – Afrikaans High School (Affies) and University of Pretoria respectively. Over the years, their friendship has evolved with AB becoming Faf’s best man in his wedding.

Although their personal lives carried smoothly, their careers took vastly different routes.

The South African team under Graeme Smith was the only team that could challenge Australia at their home and would rise to the No.1 Test rankings. With the great Jacques Kallis, Boucher, Ntini, and Pollock, breaking into this team was not an easy task. AB was recognized early as a prospect and was tracked into the national team in 2004. In a couple of years’ time, he had established himself and by 2008, the Perth special guaranteed his journey into greatness.

On the other hand, Faf had to toil his way through domestic cricket, season after season. He even temporarily played in England with a Kolpak deal. Although Faf was becoming disillusioned, AB encouraged him to keep the hope alive with the imminent retirements of Smith and Kallis.

7 years after AB, finally Faf’s day came. It started with an epic.

Faf du Plessis had to wait for his turn in international cricket. When he did get his turn, he took his chance and followed a first innings 78 with a valiant fourth innings match-saving century against Australia in Adelaide.

The Stats

AB De Villiers

Ab De Villiers will go down as one of the All-Time greatest ODI players. Not only is his statistics out of the world – an average above 50 and strike rate above 100, it is the manner in which he changed the game. He was an innovator with his unconventional shots and created the idea of a “360 degree player.” A versatile cricketer, he could adapt to any format, situation, or challenge at hand. He could score 149*(44) or defend 43(354) in a blockathon. Apart from his batting, he can keep wickets, field in any position, and captain.

Can also play hockey, football, rugby, badminton, swim, win science competitions, sing, and has written an autobiography.

Retired from international cricket in 2018 and is a star at RCB.

Records: Fastest ODI 50/100/150, 78 test innings without a duck (most), South Africa’s 2nd highest ODI run scorer and fourth highest test run scorer.

  • Test: 114 matches, 8765 runs, average 50.66, best of 278*, 22-1 00s/46-50s
  • ODI: 228 matches, 9577 runs, average 53.50, 101.90 strike rate, best of 176, 25-100s/53-50s
  • T20I: 78 matches, 1672 runs, average 26.10, 135.16 strike rate, best of 79*, 10-50s

Faf Du Plessis

Faf is one of the most underrated batsman in the current era. He is known for his strong character through his ability to counter tough situations. Like AB, he easily adapts between formats, from blockathons and saving Test matches to becoming a successful T20 batsman with shots like the scoop. Although he is a dependable batsman, he is known for his captaincy – the ability to guide South Africa through tough rebuilding phases as well as the reformation time. And of course, his fielding.

Records: Centuries in all formats as a captain, first player to score century in a day-night Test

  • Test: 65 matches, 3901 runs, average 39.80, best of 137, 9-100s/21-50s
  • ODI: 143 matches, 5507 runs, average 47.47, 88.60 strike rate, best of 185, 12-100s/35-50s
  • T20I: 47 matches, 1407 runs, average 34.31, 134.12 strike rate, best of 119, 1-100/8-50s

The Match That Broke South Africa

The Match

24 March, 2015. New Zealand vs. South Africa at Auckland. The Proteas were arguably the favorites. Since South Africa were in the semi-finals, there had to be the obligatory rain and net run-rate calculations.

South Africa posted an excellent total with Faf, ABD, and Miller finishing the innings well. In response, McCullum blazed away against Dale Steyn, briefly collapsed, and recovered with the Grant Elliot-Corey Anderson steady partnership. Five needed in two, and Elliot hit Dale Steyn over long on for the victory.

A once-in-a-lifetime special innings from Grant Elliot. Grant Elliot, superman.

The Consequence

The great South African generation broke down, both mentally and physically. It was a slow degeneration over the next four years.

Kyle Abbott picked the Kolpak route as a direct result of being dropped for Vernon Philander on the eve of the match due to political pressure and the quota system. Other talents like Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer, and Duanne Olivier would follow.

Vernon Philander himself would wane off in a couple of years. Dale Steyn, a fast bowler who was rarely injured for over a decade began picking up freak injuries. Morne retired from international cricket early for Kolpak while ABD retired early to manage T20 leagues loads, a year before the 2019 World Cup.

2019 was a disaster. Numerous injuries, media reports, and the end of illustrious careers of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, and Imran Tahir.

Only Faf du Plessis survived. Barely.

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Legacy

Faf symbolizes resilience and commitment. After the crushing 2019 campaign, Faf had the choice to hang up his boots but he decided to give back to South African cricket.

The rest of the golden era had retired. What did Faf do? He remained in the game and stayed as captain to absorb all the pressure and criticism. He worked extremely hard, transitioned towards a new team, and inspired the youngsters around him. All with a smile.

Since Faf had to wait seven more years for a South African cap, he cherished every moment as a South African cricketer and realized the struggle of others that have to wait in the wings or are thinking about going to England.

AB De Villiers was the catalyst to South Africa’s fortunes and changed cricket forever with his inventive batting. His premature retirement and the controversies around picking and choosing gained a lot of traction among critics and fans alike, but he had a point. More than anything, he was a victim of an overkill of cricket—it does take a physical and mental toll on you. He gave 14 years to South Africa, playing all formats continuously, and we should appreciate that.

What Can We Learn?

Cricket is unpredictable, a dropped catch or run-out can change the game. Similarly, life is unpredictable. Sometimes the best do not end up victorious, but how an individual responds to tough situations is important.

Faf just never gave up. Whether saving a test match, dealing with ball-tampering allegations, or managing captaincy issues, he just never gave up. Even if the ball is traveling with speed and is seemingly going for a six, just keep your nerve and hang on. You never know, you may pull off a catch.

What does ABD teaches us? Never stop learning and improving. He was regarded as the future of South Africa pretty early on, and he put in everything for them. He kept wickets despite back injuries, opened the batting, finished innings, and captained tough situations, and learned to evolve with time.

Your only competition is with you. Even when AB was at his best, he continued to reinvent self. Your best can always get better.

They both did it differently, but Faf and AB have been inspirational in their own rights. When they batted together, you realized that South Africa was in good hands. They were just a delight to watch, and we hope the very best to them and South Africa in the future.

Where can the Proteas go from here?

Although domestic talent is continuously drained into the Kolpak system, the quota system has been controversial, and systemic discrimination has to be dealt with, all is not lost.

This IPL has shown that Faf is ever dependable, ABD still has some magic, and de Kock is ready to take more responsibility. With stars in Kagiso Rabada, Nortje, and Chris Morris, who knows, 2021 T20 World Cup is where South Africa bounces back.

For South Africa to succeed in 2021, Faf needs ABD, and ABD needs Faf. South Africa and cricket fans around the world— we want them both together, one final time.

Comment below on your thoughts about the article or your favorite memories of AB De Villiers and Faf Du Plessis.

If you liked this tribute, please check out tributes to Rahul Dravid, Lasith Malinga, and Ellyse Perry along with other such cricketing heroes.

Sources: Cricinfo, IPLT20.com, cricket.com.au, #ProteasFire-Youtube

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