King Louis wants his crown
South African cricket teams and World Cups have not always seen eye to eye.
Whether that was the result of unfavourable weather, questionable selections, misreading of the Duckworth-Lewis formulas or just plain – to put it bluntly – choking, it has never ended well at the global showpiece event.
But South African cricket has a bit of a spring in its step at the moment. The SA20 proved a true success with some amazing performances and incredible crowds, and then our Proteas Women did the unthinkable by reaching the World Cup final – ultimately edged by overwhelming favourites Australia, but not after rousing the nation.
Proteas Veterans captain Louis Koen wants to ride this wave and go one better at the Over-50s World Cup: “We want to win the World Cup … that is our goal,” he says with a straight face.
Koen is one of three players with top level international experience in the squad – along with Alan Dawson and Clive Eksteen – and he’s hoping to tap into this and lead his team to the promised land.
“I played a little bit for South Africa, I know what it’s like … you still get nervous when you walk out onto field, you still get nervous when you walk out to bat,” he says. “A lot of it has to do with mental preparation so we are going to approach this as though we are still professionals.”
Like all the other players in the squad will tell you, Veterans Cricket has been a breath of fresh air for cricket in this country. Koen himself hung up his bat for many years before being lured back in when the Veterans league was formed in Cape Town.
He was part of the squad at the 2020 World Cup, which was called off after just two matches following the global COVID-19 outbreak, and he is delighted to have been afforded another opportunity, with Evergreen Lifestyle making good on their promise to back the tournament again in 2023.
“We are delighted that we can play in another World Cup, and that the World Cup is in Cape Town again,” Koen adds. “Thankfully Evergreen Lifestyle decided to stay involved and make this possible again.
“I believe this World Cup is going to be bigger and better than the previous one. In 2020 we had a team that was put together just before the tournament, but this time around we’ve had trial games, we had the Interprovincial Tournament, and the squad was selected from that which is absolutely the right way to do it because it gives everyone an equal opportunity.
“There is a massive hype surrounding the tournament all over the place. Every club I’ve gone to and every player I’ve spoken to, they’re talking about the Over-50s World Cup.
“In our playing days the World Cup was only for a select few; now with having the Over-40 and Over-50s World Cups, it gives everybody an opportunity that they may have just missed out on during their careers.
“And it’s great for cricket because guys will play club cricket and stay involved for much longer, and that can only be good for the game on so many levels.”
Koen enjoyed a successful provincial career, playing 233 First-Class and List A matches for the likes of Boland and Eastern Province, scoring more than 10 000 runs with a highest score of 202 not out, but he’ll be the first to admit that his international career did not go to plan (82 runs in 5 ODIs and a first-baller or debut against Australia).
And that’s why he’s not taking his call-up to the Proteas Veterans for granted … he knows what an honour and privilege it is to represent your country, at any level.
“After 20 years of not playing cricket I’ve been training like a man possessed … just to be in shape, to be stronger, and working on the technique again.
“My job is not only going to be as captain … I also need to score runs. And that’s been my motivation – in order to do well, I need to train well.
“It’s great to put on the South African cap and put on the South African blazer with the Protea on the chest. Me, as someone who has played for South Africa before, I don’t take it for granted.”
About Evergreen Lifestyle
Established in 2008, Evergreen Lifestyle is South Africa’s premium retirement brand with seven operating villages in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and a further six in the pipeline. The business began with a vision to change the retirement landscape in South Africa, offering a partnership for life based on five key pillars: physical security, financial peace of mind, continuous care, a sense of community and exceptional hospitality.
You’ll find Evergreen’s award-winning retirement villages in the most beautiful parts of the country, at the end of sun dappled country lanes, perched on majestic mountain slopes, and within walking distance of our beaches, rivers, and wetlands. And you’ll find vibrant fun-loving communities enjoying the finer things in life – like good food, great company, lasting friendships, and a sense of belonging that is enabled by the resort style facilities and amenities on offer.