Protea stars are retiring but here's why you shouldn't be worried
JP Duminy settled into the departure lounge on Friday, joining Imran Tahir. They might want to make room for Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and maybe even Faf du Plessis. AB de Villiers and Morné Morkel have already left the building.
Talking to reporters at Newlands, where the one-day series against Sri Lanka ended yesterday, Duminy explained why spending almost five months out of action with a shoulder injury prompted him to decide the World Cup would, if he plays in it, mark his last appearances in an ODI shirt.
"I have two growing children and I want to be a present father," Duminy said. "I've seen the difference it makes being at home.
"I've had an illustrious opportunity from a career point of view. But I've just got to that point where, from an appetite point of view for international cricket and the demands it makes on a daily basis, it's come to the end."
Tahir took the same decision a week ago, and it would be no surprise should Amla and Steyn follow suit - if only in format terms. Du Plessis is a longer shot, not least because he has reinvented himself from a dependable player into the best captain in the game.
Those players have lives to live that will endure for years after they have batted and bowled for the last time, at least in games watched by millions.
But the scary thing, for the rest of their cricket-minded compatriots, is that six of the seven players above were in the SA side that last played in an ODI tournament: against India in the Champions Trophy at the Oval in June 2017. And that they are either no longer in the mix or, it seems, on their way out. The exception is Steyn, who was recovering from breaking his shoulder in Perth the previous November.
Also scary - for SA's opponents, especially with a World Cup coming - is that other members of the XI who were overwhelmed by the Indians in London not quite two years ago aren't considering retirement.
A couple of them are Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, who have grown into two of the most dazzling players in the game. So have David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo, who were also in the Oval side. Steyn, meanwhile, has been repaired.
"There's going to be a transition period, but I think we'll be stronger for it," Duminy said of SA's future without him and who knows who else.
"We've seen that the game of cricket carries on. No player is bigger than the game and bigger than the team."
We've heard that before.
Because it's true...