Notable statistical landmarks by leading cricketers worldwide for the specific 2020 calendar year look like being in short supply … the ongoing coronavirus crisis should ensure that.
Quite when South Africa’s own household names will swing into action again, either at international or domestic level, is a firmly unanswered question.
But there is every likelihood that certain of them will be waiting rather longer than would have been anticipated a few weeks ago to complete looming personal milestones.
One is star strike bowler Kagiso Rabada, currently on 197 Test wickets and who would have confidently expected to complete the task of getting to 200 in the two-Test series against West Indies, scheduled for July and August in the Caribbean but now unlikely to take place.
Already the holder of 43 caps, if he were to do the necessary in that series he would become the third fastest South African to 200 scalps, behind only Dale Steyn, who got there in his 39th Test, and Allan Donald (42): Shaun Pollock is currently third, having got there in his 49th Test.
As the fastest Proteas player to the mark, Steyn is also sixth best from any nation in history; Pakistani leg-spin ace Yasir Shah is comfortable leader after reaching 200 in only his 33rd appearance in 2018.
Rabada would still be in quality company if he hits the mark in his 44th Test – whenever that now may be – as he would have emulated Alec Bedser (England), Richard Hadlee (New Zealand), Joel Garner (West Indies) and Ravindra Jadeja of India.
Two now-retired former Proteas icons, Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, meanwhile, are in a holding pattern to complete notable domestic-level landmarks.
Philander had his intended UK summer contract with Somerset cancelled this week (though it may be restored in 2021), given the increasing probability that no significant county cricket is played in 2020, with the veteran all-rounder on 4,941 first-class career runs – only 59 shy of 5,000.
Amla is earmarked for a two-year Kolpak deal with Surrey, and awaiting completion of 10,000 runs at List-A limited-overs level: he is presently on 9,973.
Here are some other Proteas players close to landmarks:
*Temba Bavuma (7,915) needs 85 runs to reach 8,000 first-class runs.
*Quinton de Kock (2,934) needs 66 runs to complete 3,000 at Test level, and (on 191) requires nine more catches to reach 200 in the same format.
*Faf du Plessis, on 3,901, needs 99 runs to reach 4,000 in Tests.
*Dean Elgar (13,940) is 60 runs shy of 14,000 first-class runs.
*Dwaine Pretorius (99) is just one wicket short of reaching 100 at List-A level.
*David Miller (6,900) needs exactly 100 to complete 7,000 in all T20 cricket.
*Aiden Markram requires 55 runs to achieve 3,000 at the List-A crease, and another 45 to crack the 1,000-mark in T20 international cricket.
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