Cape Town - The retirement of the 30-year old Rusty Theron is a massive setback for the Warriors, as he was the spearhead in their impressive run of five consecutive wins at the back-end of the One Day Cup series last season, said Malibongwe Maketa, the Warriors head coach.
Theron represented South Africa in four T20 internationals and nine one-day internationals (ODIs) between 2010 and 2012. His 5-44 was a career-best in ODIs.
“Rusty was head and shoulders above the other death bowlers in last season’s One Day Cup competition. He would have represented South Africa in many more matches if he had not been struggling with injuries,” Maketa told the supersport.com website.
The coach revealed a niggling knee injury contributed to Theron’s decision to announce his retirement on Wednesday.
Theron was a mainstay of the attack during the MTN40 competition of 2009/2010, when the Warriors won the title. He nipped out 21 batsmen in the series with a best of 4-33.
“Rusty hated losing, and he motivated the rest of the squad. He was a definite leader for us, and he also provided a light-hearted moment in the heat of the battle,” Maketa said.
The fast bowler’s ability to change pace, and to take late wickets at the business end of the innings with excellent yorkers, made him one of South Africa’s most feared exponents of death bowling.
Theron, currently in Florida in the United States, wants to enrol in a teacher’s degree, said Leigh Deyzel, commercial manager at Cricket Eastern Cape.
The fast bowler nipped out eight batsmen in the last five games of the season upon his return from injury. Theron took eight wickets for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League this year with 3-19 his best return.
Maketa said the Warriors will continue the approach which saw them win the last five matches of last season in the domestic 50-over showpiece and only marginally missing out on a semi-final playoff.
The experience and skills level of the Warriors have been bolstered by the acquisition of Yaseen Vallie, Clyde Fortuin and Gihahn Cloete, he added.
“We will be looking at utilising Clyde (a former South African under-19 opener and wicketkeeper) at No 5 or six, but there could be cases where we could open with him,” he added.