I really hope our rugby selectors learn from what I believe were mistakes made by their cricketing peers when naming their squad for next month’s T20I tour of the West Indies and Ireland.
Somewhat hidden in the middle of the press release announcing their squad was a line which read: “Discussions with AB de Villiers have concluded with the batsman deciding once and for all, that his retirement will remain final.”
Personally, and I believe this to be true for a number of cricket fans around the world, I wanted to see him have one more go at the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
But he’s got his reasons for deciding not to take up the option, so I went in search of a similar line about Faf du Plessis.
I mean, surely if you miss out on taking one experienced player with you, then you look for another.
Du Plessis, after all, was South Africa’s best batsman at the Indian Premier League – his 320 runs in seven innings at an average of 64 being the third-most in the tournament.
Niks. Nada. Zilch. As if he never existed or retired from T20I cricket –which he hasn’t by the way.
What I don’t understand is all this talk about a transitional period.
To my mind that means passing the baton and most importantly making sure you set up the next guy well and that he won’t drop it.I’m not convinced that this happened. Instead, we have new squads, with new captains.
That’s not a team in transition – that’s a team in a rebuilding phase.
I’m not even sure if it was necessary to bring down the building in the first place.
In other words, there was no need to ignore seniors that could have played a big role in mentoring youngsters – even Dale Steyn, who insists that he’s not retired would have been such a benefit to younger bowlers.
I remember watching the recent T20 series against Pakistan and thinking if only Sisanda Magala had a senior bowler mentoring him during a horror over that saw him bowl 12 balls.
There was no one.
Anyway, enough cricket.
Let’s talk rugby.
Some of you will remember a column I wrote in November last year saying Morne Steyn is perhaps not done with the Springboks and how nice it would be for him to finish his career against the team he faced in his first Test – the British and Irish Lions.
Months have passed and now those calls have grown into a full roar, with the 36-year-old proving to be the form flyhalf in the country at the moment.
With Damian Willemse focused on playing fullback, Elton Jantjies and Handre Pollard playing abroad and Curwin Bosch being the only other serious contender for the No.10 jumper, I would not hesitate to include the seasoned Steyn.
Just because a player is old, it doesn’t mean he isn’t good enough.
And a player in the mould of Steyn – your consistent tactical threat instead of a razzle-dazzle star – only gets better with age.
So Springbok selectors; finish the script in what would be a real fairytale ending for Loftus’ Liefling.