• New issue: Why De Kock must bat at 4

    Mercurial playmaker Quinton de Kock is on the new cover of SA Cricket magazine, on sale now!

    There’s every chance South African home fans can be the 12th man on the field when the Proteas square off against England in their four-Test series this summer. England might be the Cricket World Cup champions, a title they won on home soil in 2019, but red-ball Test cricket separates the men from the boys.

    Off the field South African cricket has been dragged through the mill in recent times, and on the field the Proteas haven’t fared that much better, enduring a dismal World Cup campaign before suffering a crushing Test whitewash in India the last time they played in the five-day arena. England, on the other hand, followed their World Cup campaign by squaring the Ashes against Australia – the urn still returned Down Under, though – before finding New Zealand a tough proposition on their home turf in their Test series.

    Thanks to the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup, home fans will be bullish that the Proteas can feed off rugby’s feel-good vibe. And nothing brings out the best in the South Africans than the summer sun, big crowds at wonderful cricketing venues – and a bit of banter from the crowd.

    This issue is in keeping with the English coming to visit – we even have Wisden editor Lawrence Booth contributing with his feature on Ben Stokes, who is unquestionably one of the big guns in the visitors’ lineup, and one of the marquee acts of world cricket.

    However, South Africa are not short of box-office attractions, either, and the mercurial Quinton de Kock might just be the one player who sizzles this summer. We have made him our cover feature for this issue and nail our opinion to the mast: let ‘Quinny’ bat at the traditional strokemaker’s No 4 position and let him be the batsman the Proteas order is based around. If it means he must throw the wicketkeeper’s gloves to someone else, Kyle Verrenye perhaps, so be it. We need runs from De Kock and we need someone in that No 4 position to dominate the opposition bowlers.

    Elsewhere we sat down with the emerging Zubayr Hamza who should also find himself in Proteas whites against England. Since his Test debut he has been impressive and one of the few batsmen to come out with an enhanced reputation over the past year.

    This issue, however, also has to address the elephant in the room: Cricket South Africa. There has been plenty of negative publicity around CSA and the way the game is being handled behind the scenes, and we are simply doing our job to unpack the whole sorry saga and tell it like it is. As a valued reader you need to be kept fully in the picture, no matter how bleak it might be.

    Not all is doom and gloom, though. We shine the spotlight on 20 young cricketers who were born this century who will be turning 20 this year. They are the future of South African cricket and while many of them are not household names, at SA Cricket magazine we pride ourselves on unearthing young talent first and then watching them rise to the top. We hope you will keep this issue as a reference as we monitor these 20 cricketers’ journeys down life’s long road.

    Many of you might not be familiar with the name Lauren Agenbag, but the 23-year-old has become a standard-bearer for women umpires in South Africa and across the world. At 22, she became the first South African woman to stand in a T20 International, making her debut at Newlands last February and last September she became the first woman to umpire in a senior men’s provincial match – the CSA T20 Cup between Eastern Province and KwaZulu-Natal Inland. Be sure to read about her rise.

    We also caught up with the recently capped Proteas Test cricketer George Linde, who assures us there is ‘no chance’ he would ‘even think of signing’ a Kolpak contract down the road; a positive story and it’s nice to know he is one of the many who aren’t swayed by the money and supposedly greener pastures that exist in the UK.

    Enjoy this issue and be sure to follow us online and on our social media channels over the summer as we try to help the Proteas players ramp up the head against their English counterparts. – Editor

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