South Africa

Five Proteas players who need to fire at the 2023 Cricket World Cup

The Proteas get their 2023 50-over World Cup campaign under way in Delhi on Saturday when they take on Sri Lanka in what they hope will be the perfect start to their campaign.

It is a big first three games for the Proteas as they follow their opener by taking on Australia and then the Netherlands, so they have a chance to get off to a really good start.

To have a strong tournament the Proteas will need their best players to fire. Here then are five key players that they will want to be in top form:

Heinrich Klaasen

Heinrich Klaasen has over the past year become the Proteas’ most valuable player in limited overs and T20 cricket. He has evolved from a player who was in and out of the team to arguably one of the first names on the team sheet thanks to a stunning run of form.

He has dominated on T20 circuits around the world and his one day game has come along superbly. His amazing knock of 174 off just 83 balls against Australia last month was one of the best ODI innings ever seen from a Proteas batter, and he will look to take that momentum and form into the World Cup.

Kagiso Rabada

Proteas pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada has not had the best past few seasons with some inconsistent form plaguing his game. His form hasn’t been poor, but it has been nowhere near the high standards that he set for himself earlier in his career.

Over the years he has struck up a good partnership with Anrich Nortje, however with Nortje ruled out of the World Cup with an injury, Rabada will have to take centre stage.

He will hope to bowl well together with fellow pace partners Lungi Ngidi and Gerald Coetzee.

Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Marco Jansen

Marco Jansen is fast filling a massive void that had been left in the Proteas side since Jacques Kallis retired back in 2014. Since then the Proteas have tried to find a genuine all-rounder to take over, but have struggled to do that.

Players such as Wayne Parnell and more recently Wiaan Mulder have tried to do it but neither has been able to become a first choice player.

Jansen, however, looks like he can finally fill that void. Initially brought in as a fast bowler, his batting has improved tremendously in recent times and he will hope to make a big impact with both bat and ball in the World Cup.

Marco Jansen
Marco Jansen. Picture: Matt Roberts-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

Keshav Maharaj

The Proteas’ premier spin bowler Keshav Maharaj is going to have to play a massive role in their World Cup campaign in India.

Spin bowling is likely going to play a massive part in the outcome of many games and Maharaj is going to have a lot of pressure placed on his shoulders to produce the goods.

The Proteas usually use a seam friendly attack featuring Rabada, Ngidi, Coetzee and Jansen, but it will be interesting to see if they continue with that or look to pair Tabraiz Shamsi with Maharaj.

Keshav Maharaj
Keshav Maharaj. Picture: Alex Davidson-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

Quinton de Kock

It is the end of the road in 50 over cricket for Proteas star Quinton de Kock, with him retiring from the format at the conclusion of the World Cup.

De Kock has over the years lost interest in the longer forms of the game and is aiming to put all his focus into T20 cricket from here on. He retired from Test cricket in 2021 at the young age of 27 and is following that up with retiring from ODIs at 30.

He will still be available for the Proteas in T20 cricket, but it will have to fit in with his globetrotting T20 schedule. He will be eager to end things in the 50-over game with a bang and what better opportunity to do that than at a World Cup.

Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock. Picture: Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images