The finalisation of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) group of nationally-contracted players seems to suggest that Proteas supporters can still look forward to over a year of service from senior men like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Dale Steyn.
In fact, with the exception of Morne Morkel – who is retiring from international cricket after the Australia series – virtually the whole of South Africa’s experienced core of players has been retained.
As a result, it’s clear that they really do want to make the winning of next year’s World Cup in England a priority.
However, the possibility also remains that men like De Villiers, Amla and Du Plessis could only be available for white-ball cricket at the conclusion of the battles against Australia.
De Villiers, for example, has suggested numerous times that in order to reach the World Cup, he has to manage his workload.
There’s also an indication of who’ll be considered the men to take over from the giants.
Aiden Markram and Lungi Ngidi have both been awarded contracts for the first time.
CSA have clearly also identified Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo as the main all-rounders being considered for the showpiece in England after ditching Wayne Parnell.
It will be interesting to see whether Dean Elgar and Vernon Philander can break free from their label as “Test specialists”.
Elgar in particular has stated previously that he wants to play limited overs cricket too.
List of nationally-contracted players: Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.