Cape Town — For at least a couple of years now, hardened South African cricket followers have been contemplating life post-2019 with a hint of trepidation.
All roads this year lead to the World Cup in England where the Proteas will try one more time to go the distance, but there is an element of the unknown that lurks beyond that tournament.
Both JP Duminy and Imran Tahir have announced that they will retire from ODI cricket following the completion of the World Cup, while fast bowler Dale Steyn has hinted that he will do the same in an effort to prolong his Test career.
It is also difficult to see 35-year-old Hashim Amla continuing with white ball cricket, while 34-year-old Faf du Plessis is likely to stay on as skipper, but for how much longer?
In the Test side, Vernon Philander is 33-years-old.
With AB de Villiers well and truly done with international cricket, the Proteas are approaching the end of an era and before long a number of fresher, younger players will have to be backed across all formats.
That process has already started, but when the likes of Amla, Steyn, Tahir, Duminy and Philander are all done, then the depth in South African cricket will undoubtedly be tested.
“There is going to be a transition period, there is no doubt, but I think we will be stronger for it,” Duminy told media in Cape Town on Friday.
“We have seen that the game of cricket carries on and no player is bigger than the game or the team.
“The state and health of South African cricket, I feel, is in a good place. There are some good cricketers coming through.”
Duminy conceded that there might be a period of mixed results for the Proteas as they look to find their feet with a new crop of regulars.
“The transition can be one where there is a bit of an up and down period and we don’t know how that is going to play out,” he said.
“I think the stock that we possess in South African cricket is really good.
“There are some exciting cricketers coming through who I personally feel will represent South African cricket for many years, so I am excited to see what the future holds.”
Duminy will play his last ODI in South Africa when the Proteas take on Sri Lanka in the 5th ODI at Newlands.