Proteas star Quinton de Kock admits playing all three formats becoming tough

Wicketkeeper batsman says players will have to make their own decisions as more games are added to calendar

South Africa's Quinton de Kock, right, and England's Jos Butler, left, are worried about the packed cricket calendar. AP
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South Africa wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock said players will find it difficult to play all three formats of the game as more fixtures are added to the cricket calendar.

The three-match ODI series between the Proteas and England was drawn 1-1 on Sunday after heavy rain during the third ODI at Headingley.

Less than 28 overs of play were possible in Leeds before the game was called in the first innings with South Africa on 159-2.

De Kock was denied a chance to score a century as he was stranded on 92 off 76 balls before the weather intervened. But the spotlight was on cricket's busy calendar, which has attracted criticism following England all-rounder Ben Stokes's decision to retire from ODIs.

Former Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram last week said he understood the reasons behind Stokes's decision, while ex-England captain Nasser Hussain described the global cricket schedule as "madness".

"It's going to start being tough for players - three formats is a lot and it looks like more games are happening over the calendar," De Kock said.

"Players need to make decisions individually and if they feel they can do it [play all three formats], I am happy for them. But guys need to take decisions into their own hands."

The 29-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman announced his retirement from Test cricket in December, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

"I've been roped in to play a couple of leagues but that's my own consequence," De Kock said. "I am happy to do it.

"It's still a sacrifice but I'm slowly getting to an age where I need to think about where I want to be in my career. As long as I can do it at my own pace then I am happy.

"When you're still young you need to play all three formats and get certain things done in your career. It starts getting harder as you start getting older and the body doesn't cooperate like it used to. It's just a management thing."

Meanwhile, England captain Jos Buttler admits he is frustrated with England's intense match schedule after his hopes of overseeing a first white-ball series victory since taking over the captaincy were scuppered due to rains.

Ben Stokes retires from ODIs

In Buttler's first month since taking over from World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, he has had to contend with a hectic schedule as well as dealing with a hole in the team following the ODI retirement of Stokes.

England are currently nine games into a busy period which will see them take to the field 12 times in 24 days and they have had just one dedicated training day so far during that time, something the new captain revealed has been challenging.

"It's tough," Buttler said. "A lot of the time around training is when you do your best work, away from the pressures of the game, having good conversations and having a feel for where the group is at.

"And not just always in game mode, preparing for guys on the day. To get the highest standard of cricket possible, you need to prepare properly. Hopefully that's something we can look at going forward.

"As a new captain, just having that time to bed in and do that work around your players and with your coaches.

"That's been a frustration to be truthfully honest - it would be nice to have that time to do the work. But we don't, so you just have to adapt and find the best way. It's been a good challenge."

England and South Africa meet in three T20 internationals, starting in Bristol on Wednesday.

Updated: July 25, 2022, 8:00 AM
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