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2023 Cricket World Cup South Africa Squad Breakdown (The Definitive Guide): Which 15 players will make the final squad from the Preliminary Squad of 18?

Time for the 2023 Cricket World Cup South Africa Squad edition.

South Africa have released their squads for the series against Australia. Although this is not the official World Cup squad, it gives us a glimpse into their preliminary squad (especially since World Cup is only two months away now).

Let’s jump right in.

Key Takeaways from South Africa’s ODI Squad Announcement

  • The average age of South Africa’s 2023 Cricket World Cup squad is 29.1. South Africa is going with a healthy mix of youth and experience. They have youngsters like Brevis (20), Coetzee (22), Stubbs (23), Jansen (23) as well as experience international players like Miller, Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Markram, Parnell, and Shamsi.
  • The 18-member South Africa’s preliminary World Cup squad has average ODI match experience of 43 ODIs. David Miller (155), Quinton de Kock (140) & Kagiso Rabada (89) are their most experienced players, while the likes of Dewald Brevis have yet to debut in international cricket.
  • South Africa’s squad composition is as follows: 9 proper batters (with one part-time bowling option), 2 all-rounders, and 7 proper bowling options. In total, South Africa has 10 bowling options (1 off spin, 2 left arm pace, 2 left arm spin, and 5 right arm pace) in their squad if absolutely needed.
  • South Africa have 2 left-handed batting options (QDK, Miller) and two wicketkeeping options.

South Africa Cricket World Cup Team at a Glance

Quinton de KockBatter/Wicketkeeper30
Reeza HendricksBatter34
Temba Bavuma (C)Batter33
Aiden MarkramBatter/part-time off-spin28
Dewald BrevisBatter20
Rassie van der DussenBatter34
Heinrich KlaasenBatter/Wicketkeeper32
David MillerBatter34
Tristan StubbsBatter23
Marco JansenAll-Rounder/Medium Pace23
Kagiso RabadaFast Bowler28
Wayne ParnellAll-Rounder/Fast34
Tabraiz ShamsiLeft Arm Spin33
Anrich NortjeFast Bowler29
Lungi NgidiFast Bowler27
Gerald CoetzeeFast Bowler22
Sisanda MagalaMedium Pace32
Bjorn FortuinLeft Arm Spin28

Also Read:

South Africa Cricket World Cup 2023 Potential XI

  1. Quinton de Kock (WK)
  2. Reeza Hendricks
  3. Temba Bavuma (C)
  4. Aiden Markram
  5. Rassie van der Dussen
  6. David Miller
  7. Heinrich Klaasen
  8. Marco Jansen
  9. Kagiso Rabada
  10. Anrich Nortje
  11. Tabraiz Shamsi

Injury News

  • Keshav Maharaj suffered from Achilles injury earlier this year and iis in the race to keep himself fit for the World Cup.

4 South African Players Who Were Unlucky to Miss Out

  • Janneman Malan, Donovan Ferreira, Faf du Plessis, George Linde

3 Surprise Picks for South Africa’s World Cup Squad

  • Sisanda Magala, Bjorn Fortuin, Gerlad Coetzee

South Africa Cricket World Cup 2023 Squad – Complete List of Players

1. Quinton de Kock (WK)

Role: Left-handed bater (opener)

  • Matches/Innings: 140/140
  • Runs: 5966, Best: 141*
  • Average/SR: 44.85/96.08
  • 100/50: 17/29
  • Catches/Stumpings: 183/14

Recent ODI Form: 37, 31, 48, 9, 8

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 30

Also Read: Top 17 Greatest Wicketkeepers in Cricket History (Men’s): Which Keepers Have the Most Dismissals Across Formats?

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2. Reeza Hendricks

Role: Right-handed batter (opener)

  • Matches/Innings: 27/27
  • Runs: 694, Best: 102
  • Average/SR: 27.76/77.62
  • 100/50: 1/5

Recent ODI Form: 1, 6, 74, 3, 52

Last ODI: February 1, 2023

Age: 34

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3. Temba Bavuma (C)

Role: Right-handed bater

  • Matches/Innings: 26/25
  • Runs: 1150, Best: 144
  • Average/SR: 52.27/91.63
  • 100/50: 4/3

Recent ODI Form: 109, 35, 144, 90*, 6

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 33

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4. Aiden Markram

Role: Right-handed batter/Right arm off spin

  • Matches/Innings: 50/47
  • Runs: 1440, Best: 175
  • Average/SR: 33.48/93.87
  • 100/50: 1/6
  • Wickets: 16, Best: 2/18
  • Economy: 5.58

Recent ODI Form: 49, 39, 25, 51*, 175

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 28

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5. Dewald Brevis

Role: Right-hand bat/Right arm part-time leg break

*has not debuted in international cricket yet

List A Record:

  • Matches/Innings: 8/8
  • Runs: 247, Best: 98*
  • Average/SR: 35.98/95.00
  • 100/50: 0/1

Age: 20

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6. Rassie van der Dussen

Role: Right-hand bat

  • Matches/Innings: 45/39
  • Runs: 1757, Best: 134
  • Average/SR: 60.58/89.68
  • 100/50: 4/11

Recent ODI Form: 5, 8, 14, 31, 25

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 34

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7. Heinrich Klaasen

Role: Right-hand bat/Wicketkeeper

  • Matches/Innings: 36/33
  • Runs: 1080, Best: 123*
  • Average/SR: 40.00/104.65
  • 100/50: 2/5

Recent ODI Form: 27, 80, 119*, DNB, 28

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 32

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8. David Miller

Role: Left-Hand Bat

  • Matches/Innings: 155/132
  • Runs: 3888, Best: 139
  • Average/SR: 42.26/102.93
  • 100/50: 5/21

Recent ODI Form: 58*, 13, 17, DNB, 91

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 34

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9. Tristan Stubbs

Role: Right-hand Bat

  • Matches/Innings: 1/1
  • Runs: 6
  • Average/SR: 6/60 (List A Average/SR: 42.16/86.34)
  • 100/50: 0/0

Recent ODI Form: 6

Last ODI: March 18, 2023

Age: 23

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10. Marco Jansen

Role: Left Arm Fast, Right-Hand Bat

  • Matches/Innings: 9/9
  • Wickets: 10, Best: 2/46
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 0/0
  • Economy: 5.83
  • Runs: 131, Best: 43

Recent ODI Form: 2/43, 1/77, 2/46, 1/27, 1/39

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 23

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11. Kagiso Rabada

Role: Right Arm Fast/Left-Hand Bat

  • Matches/Innings: 89/87
  • Wickets: 137, Best: 6/16
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 6/2
  • Economy: 5.01

Recent ODI Form: 0/37, 2/36, 1/59, 2/46, 0/33

Last ODI: March 31, 2023

Age: 28

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12. Wayne Parnell

Role: Left Arm Fast/Left-Hand Bat

  • Matches/Innings: 73/69
  • Wickets: 99, Best: 5/48
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 3/2
  • Economy: 5.60
  • Runs: 574, Best: 56

Recent ODI Form: 1/44, 0/42, 1/54, 0/53, 1/30

Last ODI: March 21, 2023

Age: 34

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13. Tabraiz Shamsi

Role: Left Arm Wrist Spin

  • Matches/Innings: 44/41
  • Wickets: 57, Best: 5/49
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 1/1
  • Economy: 5.51

Recent ODI Form: April 2, 2023

Last ODI: 1/55, 0/61, 2/62, 3/25, 1/38

Age: 33

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14. Anrich Nortje

Role: Right Arm Fast

  • Matches/Innings: 21/20
  • Wickets: 36, Best: 4/51
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 0/0
  • Economy: 5.68

Recent ODI Form: 0/15, 4/62, 2/64, 2/24

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 29

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15. Lungi Ngidi

Role: Right Arm Fast

  • Matches/Innings: 45/44
  • Wickets: 73, Best: 6/58
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 3/1
  • Economy: 5.73

Recent ODI Form: 1/66, 4/62, 0/76, 1/45, 1/33

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 27

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16. Gerald Coetzee

Role: Right Arm Fast

  • Matches/Innings: 2/2
  • Wickets: 5, Best: 3/57
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 0/0
  • Economy:5.50

Recent ODI Form: 3/57, 2/53

Last ODI: March 21, 2023

Age: 22

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17. Sisanda Magala

Role: Right Arm Fast

  • Matches/Innings: 7/6
  • Wickets: 14, Best: 5/43
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 0/1
  • Economy: 6.32

Recent ODI Form: 1/69, 3/46, 1/76, 3/37, 5/43

Last ODI: April 2, 2023

Age: 32

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18. Bjorn Fortuin

Role: Left Arm Orthodox/Right-Hand bat

  • Matches/Innings: 5/4
  • Wickets: 6, Best: 2/46
  • 4-fer/5-fer: 0/0
  • Economy: 5.64

Recent ODI Form: 1/52, 1/20, 2/57 2/46

Last ODI: March 21, 2023

Age: 28

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Final Thoughts

I have a good feeling about South Africa’s squad this time around, do you?

Klaasen, Markram, Rassie, & Nortje are in their form of their lives, Miller-Rabada-Quinton de Kock-Shamsi are some of the best cricketers going around, and the exciting youth talent of Brevis-Stubbs-Jansen-Coetzee is just the cherry on top.

Can they keep their cool and finallly lift the World Cup trophy?

Only time will tell. But in the mean time, I would love to know what your thoughts are on this. Comment Below with a ‘Yes’ if you think they can win the world or ‘No’ if you think they cannot.

Related ODI World Cup Articles

If you liked this article, be sure to check some of the other World Cup content:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average age of South Africa’s 2023 Cricket World Cup squad?

South Africa’s 2023 Cricket World Cup squad average age is 31.8 years. South Africa is going with a healthy mix of youth and experience. They have youngsters like Brevis (20), Coetzee (22), Stubbs (23), Jansen (23) as well as experience international players like Miller, Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Markram, Parnell, and Shamsi.

Who is selected for South Africa’s 2023 Cricket World Cup squad?

Quinton de Kock (WK), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (C), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Bjorn Fortuin, Sisanda Magalaa, Gerald Coetzee, Wayne Parnell, Tristan Stubbs, Dewald Brevis, and Lungi Ngidi are selected for South Africa’s preliminary ODI World Cup squad 2023.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, LLC 2023. Originally published on 08/16/2023. 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).

Quota System in South African Cricket and Transformation Policy – The Complete Guide: Official Policy, Myths, Stats, and the 2015 World Cup Controversy

The quota system in South African cricket is back in discussion among the cricketing community.

Today, we provide you the COMPLETE GUIDE to South Africa’s transformation policy and answer all your questions.

  • What is official South African cricket quota transformation policy?
  • How does South Africa’s 2022 World Cup squad line up with the quota?
  • What happened in THAT 2015 World Cup semi-final match?
  • Transformation Target Stats, Facts, and Myths
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The Temba Bavuma Question

We are talking about South African’s quota policy since Temba Bavuma, South Africa’s current T20I captain, has been in focus recently.

Things have been downhill for him since his elbow injury earlier in the year. To make matters worse, the T20I captain was not picked up for South Africa’s domestic T20 league.

In his absence, Reeza Hendricks has done a brilliant job at the top with Miller & Maharaj taking captaincy duties.

Now, calls have come for his axe on the eve of the 2022 T20 World Cup following his horrid series against India where he scored 0(4), 0(7), and 0(8) while Hendricks sat on the sidelines. Although he led South Africa courageously in the 2021 T20 World Cup and handled Quinton de Kock during tough times, an average of 23.54 with 116.49 strike rate is way below par for a modern T20 opening batter.

Although Bavuma has rightly faced criticism, there has been lots of slander and accusations that he is only in the XI to fulfill the quota. We will explore this and debunk some myths.

Also Read: Other South African Cricket Articles

  1. Top 10 Richest Cricket Leagues (By Average Salaries). Which Cricket League Pays the Most (2022)? Can You Guess Where SA20 Ranks?
  2. Salary of Cricketers (Men’s) from Each of the 12 Nations (2022)—The Complete Guide
  3. SA20 Auction Big Takeaways: List of Players Sold, Squads, Surprises, Exclusions, and More!
  4. 49 South African Cricketers Who Left Their Country for Kolpak Deals
  5. 19 South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries: Labuschagne, Neil Wagner,…Can you Guess the Rest?
  6. Top 11 Cricketers Who Retired Too Early – The Lost Generation of Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Michael Clarke
  7. Faf du Plessis & AB De Villiers’ Friendship: Broken Dreams of Faf and ABD
  8. Dale Steyn, The Embodiment of Simplicity and Intensity, Retires—The Greatest Fast Bowler of Them All

Quota System in South African Cricket: The Complete Guide

*Disclaimer: I am trying to learn about this from an outsider’s point of view. Hence, this research is conducted through official documents from the South African cricket board with the hope of an unbiased analysis.

The Official Transformation Policy Definition

According to the National Pathway Selection Panels, Procedures, and Guidelines document,

“Transformation is defined as a process describing the establishment of a sport system focused on the principles of
Human capital development, equitable resource distribution, elimination of all inequalities, increased access to participation opportunities, skill and capability development at all levels and in all areas of activity, empowerment of the individual, respect for each other, fair and just behavior, innovation to give South Africa a competitive edge in world sport.”

In the SA cricket board’s 2021 Integrated Report, they further elaborate that “Transformation is about improved access, fair opportunity and support for all South Africans, within and beyond the boundaries of the cricket field.”

Key Points on Quota & Selections

The document provides an insight into how transformation targets play an part in South African cricket’s selection. Here is a brief summary with quotes from the official document. Some interesting finds.

  • “It is expected that the selection committee will play its role in ensuring that transformation is aggressively achieved at all levels without compromising the principle of selecting the best team based on current form and the pitch or game conditions.
  • “When selection between two players is debatable and neither is a clear choice (e.g. both have similar track records and ability), where relevant, preference must be given to the player of colour.
  • “In measuring our transformation progress, the panel will be measured on a season average basis rather than on a match-by-match basis.”
  • “Special attention must be given to the development and the creation of opportunities to play black African cricketers at all levels”
  • “We acknowledge that transformation ins not progressing as fast as it could.”
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South African Cricket Transformation Target: The Rules

The South Africa cricket reservation targets must be met as per the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) scorecard projections. By the latest transformation targets, on average about 6 players of color, including 2 black African cricketers should be in the playing XI.

Not only that, but the transformation target is also implemented all throughout South Africa’s cricketing system, from age-level groups to senior internationals.

Here is a truncated version of the projections for the men’s cricket team for the next decade.

Quota Projections

Team (Men’s)Forecast December 2022 % Black AfricanForecast December 2026% Black AfricanForecast December 2030 % Black African
Senior International Team24% 28%32%
South Africa A/Emerging/U-1927-29% 32-33%34-35%
SA School & Colts31%35%37%
U-17 National Camp31%35%37&
Team (Men’s)Forecast December 2022 % Generic BlackForecast December 2026% Generic BlackForecast December 2030 % Generic Black
Senior International Team50% 56%60%
South Africa A/Emerging/U-1950-55% 56-60%60-64%
SA School & Colts52%57%62%
U-17 National Camp52%58%62&

So, how does the South Africa cricket team reservation work?

For South Africa’s senior men team, in 2022, 24% of the players should be Black Africans while 50% overall should be colored.

This means about 2-3 Black African players and 5-6 colored members should be in the XI, while the corresponding figures are 3-4 Black African and 7-8 colored in the squad of 15.

By 2030, the figures will rise to 32% and 60% respectively i.e. the South African XI may need to have an average of 7 colored players (3-4 Black Africans).

Interesting Observations

  1. One thing to note is that consistently in junior level cricket, the transformation target percentages are a lot higher than the international requirement. This definitely sheds a light on the focus of changing the system from the grassroots level and hoping to have an impact in the international level down the road.
  2. The SA20 has no transformation targets (this could be a cause of conflict in the future. If the homegrown South African T20 league does not have transformation requirement since it is in the franchise model, why should the other parts of SA cricket have it? This may have been a factor in no interest for Bavuma in the SA20 auction).

What Happens if Transformation Targets are not Fulfilled by South African Cricket?

According to South African cricket’s Integrated Report 2020/21, here is what happens if guidelines are not followed.

  • Risks: “Non-adherence to CSA undertakings with the Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture on transformation in cricket can lead to a withdrawal of privileges accorded to National Federations.
  • Required Actions to Improve Performance: “Tranche payments linked to performance; CSA monitoring and evaluation to improve access and redress.”
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South Africa Racial Quota Statistics at a Glance

To demonstrate how detailed the transformation targets are, here are the results from the 2020/21 selection report statistics.

Women’s Team

The Senior Women had an “on-field Black demographic representation of 48% against CSA target of 50%.” In particular,

Women’s TeamTarget (2018-19)Actual (2018-19)Target (2019-20)Actual (2019-20)
Black African27%26%24%20%

Among the 154 selections for the women’s team, the proportions were

  • Women’s ODIs: 45 White, 22 Black African, 8 Colored, 13 Indian
  • Women’s T20Is: 35 White, 21 Black African, 4 Colored, 6 Indian

Men’s Team

The Proteas Men met their Black African player target for EPG 2020 – but did not meet is Black target.

Men’s TeamTarget (2018-19)Actual (2018-19)Target (2019-20)Actual (2019-20)
Black African25%22%22%23%

South African Contracted Players

From the 16 nationally contracted players, the proportion is: 8 White, 2 Colored, 4 – Black African, 2 – Indian. 116 selections (62%) of all the 187 selections came from these contracted players. The other 71 selections (38%) came from 16 non-contracted – 10 White, 3 Colored, 3 Black African, 0 Indian. In particular,

  • Men’s Test: 29 White, 11 Black African, 4 Indian, 0 Colored
  • Men’s ODI: 18 White, 11 Black African, 3 Indian, 1 Colored
  • Men’s T20I: 59 White, 24 Black African, 17 Colored, 10 Indian

So Where Does South Africa’s 2022 T20 World Cup Squad Stand?

So let’s get back to the question at the beginning. Where does Temba Bavuma fit in this conversation?

The World Cup squad has 3 Black Africans, 8 White, and 7 Colored players.

  • Black African: Temba Bavuma, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada
  • Colored: Reeza Hendricks, Wayne Parnell
  • Indian: Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi
  • White: Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klassen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Rilee Rossouw, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen

Can South Africa Afford to Drop Temba Bavuma?

In short, yes…if they play both Lungi Ngidi & Kagiso Rabada.

South Africa’s quota concern for the upcoming world cup is NOT Temba Bavuma. Instead, it may be how to balance the bowlers.

With Quinton de Kock-Rilee Rossouw-Aiden Markram-David Miller-Tristan Stubbs, South Africa have a very stable and explosive core of batters. Since no adjustment can be made in the middle order, SA will have to fit all their colored players in the bowling line up. For example, in the India vs South Africa ODI, they went with a bowling line up Parnell, Maharaj, Rabada, Shamsi, and Ngidi (which is all good for now since they are in decent form).

In conclusion, regardless of SA’s choice to play Bavuma or Hendricks, the quota is not impacted. However, with Parnell, Ngidi, and Rabada almost certainties, Nortje & Jansen might be in the sidelines.

None of this actually matters since the first tenet of the transformation goals is to select the best team on the day and the targets will be calculated on average at the end of the season.

Should South Africa Drop Temba Bavuma?

It is never a good sign to drop a captain on the eve of a World Cup, so Bavuma should still be in the squad for sure. However, it may still be good to give Reeza Hendricks some game time since he was in red-hot form.

It may be worth dropping Bavuma down the order and play him as an insurance policy to stem the flow of wickets in case of a collapse rather than as an opening batter.

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2015 World Cup Semi-Final, Kyle Abbott, & Vernon Philander

The quota system is South African cricket came into focus on March 24, 2015. South Africa crashed out of the World Cup due to Grant Elliot heroics.

Thriller of a game, but so near, yet so far for the Proteas yet again.

In the days to come, news came of the internal politics. Although SA had been fielding up to 5 players of color in the early matches (Amla, Duminy, Philander, Tahir, Behardien). However due to injuries, only 3 players were fielded including in the Quarter Finals, where South Africa crushed Sri Lanka by 9 wickets.

Instead of going with an unchanged XI, Vernon Philander (injured in the prior couple of games) replaced Kyle Abbott, who had a good tournament till that point. Later, it was revealed that the South African administrators called the coach/captain and interfered with the selection process.

This broke the team apart and unraveled the heights of the 2007-2015. Kyle Abbott took a Kolpak deal, while Philander retired early. Philander, himself is quoted that there are no hard feelings between him and Abbott.

“When I go to Durban, I have a beer with Kyle. There are no hard feelings between us two. But the point is: Cricket SA must sort out their stuff. What happened was a knock to both of us.”

Where Does South African Cricket Go from Here?

Kevin Pietersen’s exodus to England had already signaled for things to come due to unofficial quotas in the early days. However, South African cricket’s success had hidden the internal conflicts under the carpet.

The Khaya Zondo case revealed that several black African cricketers were picked, but only to ‘make up the numbers and carry the drinks.’ Michael Holding in his conversation with Makhaya Ntini expressed in the SJN hearings how secluded Ntini felt. Kagiso Rabada has been over bowled and not rested/rotated because he ticks the boxes and is really good.

From Faf du Plessis’ “we don’t see color,’ to AB de Villiers’ captaincy hesitations to the SJN hearings, Black Lives Matters, kneeling, etc., the matter is more complex than it seems from the outside.

Is the Transformation Quota System the way to go for South African cricket?

South Africa is not the only country to combat this issue. In the United States, Affirmative Action & India’s reservations with the Mandal Commission have similarly been implemented and received backlash at some point or time or another.

In my own analysis, I did not like treating human beings as statistics and separating them by categories. I am sure as the years go by the implementation will become less strict as equal opportunities would create more organically grown diverse players.

So, is the quota system the best way to go for South African cricket?

I’m not in the best way to answer that, but in order to reverse the prejudice of centuries of discrimination, systematic and grassroots changes are indeed needed.

What do you think about the quota system in South African cricket?

Sources and Further Reading on Quota System in South African Cricket

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Quota System in South African Cricket

What is the quota system in South African?

As of 2022, 2 players of black African ethnicity and 6 colored players need to be fielded in the XI (on average).

Does South Africa cricket team have reservation policy?

Yes, the South African cricket team has a reservation policy to meet transformation targets. The men’s South African team has a target of 22% Black African and 20% Black cricketers in their squads and XIs.

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 10/07/2022. 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.


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)


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.


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).