43 Views

Two quotes stand out in Heinrich Klaasen’s statement announcing his retirement from Test cricket and his no longer being available for the Proteas Test team.

The first is the fact his favourite format of the game is first class or Test cricket and the second is the fact he treasures his Test cap more than any other cap he’s received in the game — and that after playing just four Tests.

Here is exactly what Klaasen said when he announced his retirement on Monday morning: “It’s a difficult decision because it is by far my favourite format of the game. My baggy Test cap is the most precious cap I have ever been handed.”

Opportunity

Ask any cricketer and just about every one of them will say their first love is red ball (or first class and Test cricket) … because it is the true test of the game and involves proper planning and plotting, allows for wild field placements, batters and bowlers getting stuck into innings’ and spells and rivalries that develop over long periods of time.

Sadly though, South Africa are playing so little Test cricket at the moment it is no real surprise that Klaasen is no longer available for the Test team, especially when he can earn so much from playing in T20 leagues around the world.

Quinton de Kock also quit the Test game to focus on white ball and especially T20 cricket, and let’s be honest, in Klaasen’s case, he was never really given a proper Test chance anyway — he played only four Tests, though his first class average is 46.

Ironically, he may well have had his best chance for a long run in the Test team with the gloves now that De Kock is no longer available and Kyle Verreynne has struggled in the role.

Who’ll be next?

The question now is who will be next among the settled Proteas players to say there is no point anymore playing Test cricket?

Already CSA have prioritsed T20 cricket ahead of the Test format, having picked a weakened squad for the two Tests against New Zealand in early February, with the Test men being required to feature in the SA20 competition, that starts on Wednesday.

Dean Elgar quit just last week after a stellar career, but don’t be surprised if more of the established Test men call time on the longer format.

Faf du Plessis also retired from the Test game a few seasons ago to just focus on T20 cricket — and he’s still playing all around the word, and banking the big bucks.

T20 cricket is just so lucrative and attractive now it’s hard for even the best Test men to ignore.