South Africa: Out - the Proteas Stars Who Kindled My Romance With Cricket

opinion

The retirement of Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla marks the end of an era for the Proteas, in my eyes at least.

Last week was an emotional one for South African cricket fans and the cricketing community in general. In the space of three days, two legends of the game announced their retirement.

Dale Steyn announced he was stepping away from Test cricket, while Hashim Amla brought the curtain down on a stellar international career. For a die-hard cricket supporter as myself, it symbolised the end of a very personal era and connection to a generation of Proteas players.

Retired Proteas stars Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla.

The beginning

I'm 11 years old, living in the township of Lamontville, south of Durban. Everyone around me is football crazy; so am I. We play it at school, at home, in the living room (where we're likely to get smacked after breaking a vase; it doesn't stop us though). We're always kicking something. On days where our feet are sore from kicking and running, we drag bins into the street, grab flat planks to use as makeshift bats and tennis balls to use as cricket balls. And we play.

Until we get...

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