Retirement of De Cock , and a flurry of questions- An Article By Ashwin Jangam

South African cricket has always been surrounded by controversies. The involvement of politics in the South African Cricket Board has ruined many careers. To say the worse, it has also led to a mighty looking Protea team to look not as lethal as it was. Numerous cricketers from the team have either been dropped by the board or have retired at a time which has raised many eyebrows. The latest shocking news was the announcement of retirement from the Protea wicketkeeper Quinton De Cock.





The decision from QDK came in haste, moments after the end of the first test match, leaving the cricketing world in shock. The Protea is one of the finest wicketkeeper batsmen in the world at the moment. The 29-year-old was one of the only experienced batters in the South African batting line-up and was also criticised for his failure in the first test. And an experienced batter deciding to quit the series mid-way, with no prior indications is a matter of concern.





Just a few weeks before, De Cock was sacked for a match in the T20 world cup for his decision to not bend a knee before the match. At the last minute, Reeza Hendricks was named as his replacement. The southpaw had to walk back after taking the field. The board had clarified earlier that it would be the player's call whether to bend a knee or not. Despite this, the southpaw was only allowed to re-enter the playing eleven, only after he issues an apology. The perspective differences between the players and board, and the lack of communication were visible to the entire world. Is retirement an effect of these petty things ??


The ego of the South African cricket board has had resulted in the loss of a few great players. One of the best batsmen in the world AB DE VILLIERS was not allowed to be a part of the world cup when the team needed a solid middle-order batter. But he was denied by the board. In the T20 world cup 2021 too, the most experienced batter and former Protea skipper Faf Du Plessis was not selected in the squad despite being in sublime form. The likes of Imran Tahir, Tabrez Shamsi are not talked about by the board. It's sad to see the former in the commentary box instead of being on the field playing for Proteas. The board doesn't seem to be interested in having proven experienced players.





South African cricket board is one of the most disputed boards amongst the cricket playing nations. It is one of the few teams, which have reservations for players based on skin colour. The active involvement of politics in the cricketing activities had once resulted in the Proteas team being banned for 3 decades from playing any international match. Even after this, the board seems to not learn from their mistakes. Seems like Quinton didn't get the freedom he wanted to play with, resulting in his retirement from tests midway in the ongoing Freedom series (Gandhi-Mandela series).


Another possible reason for this decision by the southpaw could be to focus on cash-rich white-ball cricket leagues around the world. Players earn a lot from these leagues and are often not permitted to play because of their national duties. In this case, the boards are right, as it is every players' responsibility to play for the country first. The player's ignorance of national duty for money is a matter of concern, and it results in less participation in red-ball cricket, thereby destroying the most beautiful format of the game.





This is the exact reason why a lot of teams do exceptionally well in limited-overs cricket but fail miserably in the longest format of the game. The best example of the same is the Windies team. The current Caribbean players, being arguably the best hitters in the world, make millions in the franchise leagues, but fail to take the test matches to the 4th day. The lack of interest and intent by Caribbean players for tests is criticized by the former Caribbean legends, as it led the country that once dominated Test cricket to a bunch of players who want to make money. If it continues to happen, there would be only 3-4 test playing nations remaining who would value the red-ball cricket.


Either of the reasons is not good for the game. A batter like Quinton retiring from the longest format of the game, with age in his favour, is not a great sight to watch. On one hand, where players like Virat Kohli always speak about raising the bar of test cricket and leaving his captaincy in limited-overs to focus on red-ball cricket, other players retiring from red-ball cricket is sad to see. Nevertheless, we wish Quinton De Cock to excel in white-ball cricket even further. And simultaneously we wish players to take more interest in tests, and also the boards to take care of their players instead of being interested in politics.


Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)


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