According to documentation seen by ESPNcricinfo, de Kock was confirmed as available for the tournament between December 10 and January 5 after he was picked up by Melbourne Renegades but that stint clashes with the India games, which run from December 10 to 21.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) was aware of de Kock’s participation in the BBL draft but as a centrally contracted player they expect his first obligation to be the national team. They are currently in talks with de Kock and several other players about managing their schedule to accommodate leagues while prioritising international cricket.
The biggest question is how much international centrally contracted players are expected to participate in. It may be that certain formats are prioritised according to the ICC’s calendar and so, for example, in an ODI World Cup year, the first-choice players will be expected to be available for most ODIs in the build up to the tournament.
It is understood that CSA would want de Kock to be available for the T20Is against India (played on December 10, 12 and 14) as they are the only fixtures in the format South Africa have scheduled before next year’s T20I World Cup, in the West Indies and USA. However, that would mean de Kock is only available for six matches for Renegades. His BBL deal would be worth AU$360,000 before tax. As it stands, a stint till January 5 means de Kock will return to South Africa with three weeks left to go in the BBL, so that he can play in the SA20.
When asked by ESPNcricinfo on the evening of the draft about de Kock’s status given the India series, Renegades’ general manager James Rosengarten said the club had no concerns he would be unavailable for the first portion of the BBL. “We might get eight games [from him],” he said.
It is possible that CSA strikes a deal that will allow some of their highest profile players to play in leagues and forego international commitments, in the hope of having them available for marquee events, such as World Cups, and preventing any premature retirements.
De Kock has already had one such unexpected farewell. He called time on his Test career in December 2021, after the birth of his daughter in order to “spend more time with my growing family.” He remains a first-choice player for South Africa in white-ball formats. Although he was rested from the recently completed T20Is against Australia but returns to the ODI set-up in preparation for the World Cup, which will be his third, and he is in their plans for the 2024 T20I World Cup.