'T20 is my version of international cricket and that's how I take it'
Friday 8 March 2019 10:44, UK
Colin Ingram admits a small part of him would love to represent South Africa in this summer's World Cup but says he has no regrets about giving up international cricket.
Ingram last played for the Proteas in 2013 before joining Glamorgan as a Kolpak player in 2014, a move which has allowed him to ply his trade in the top T20 leagues in the world.
The 33-year-old scored 127 not out off 59 balls to spur Karachi Kings to a six-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League last week - an innings described by Gladiators' captain Sarfraz Ahmed as the best T20 innings he had ever seen.
That knock came shortly after compatriot Duanne Olivier decided to quit international cricket to join Yorkshire on a Kolpak deal ahead of the 2019 season - a path Ingram, who led Adelaide Strikers in the BBL and has been signed by Delhi Capitals for this year's IPL, knows only too well.
"There is a small part of me that would have loved to represent my country in the World Cup," he said. "As a kid, you grow up dreaming about such an opportunity, but I am also realistic as playing in T20 leagues provides for my family.
"It also presents newer and testing challenges for me and is a great opportunity to mix with other people and travel the world. I think I have moved on and I don't have any regrets.
"I try and come into these T20 competitions and do the best I can and for me, this is my version of international cricket and that's the way I take it."
After whitewashing Pakistan in the recent three-match Test series, the much-fancied South African side were expected to steamroll Sri Lanka but what transpired over the two-match series was nothing short of a huge surprise, with the visitors winning the series 2-0.
Ingram, like many other South Africa followers, was stunned by the defeat and feels that it could have been due to the undue focus on the upcoming World Cup in England.
"The Test series loss to Sri Lanka was most definitely a shock to me," he said. "We've always played really well at home and pride ourselves on that and it was disappointing to be beaten by a Sri Lankan side which currently has players that many people don't know too much about.
"I suppose the Sri Lankans came in a little wounded from their tour of Australia where they were thrashed 2-0 by the hosts so they seemed to have really taken us on in South Africa. Obviously, it's a bit disappointing to lose a home series and it also happens to be the first one we have lost to a subcontinental side.
"From a South Africa point of view, it could be the case that all eyes are on preparations for the World Cup in the summer and so they lost focus on Tests which is a pity, but I am sure they will bounce back soon."
South Africa's defeat of Pakistan in the ODI series where they were winners by a 3-2 margin seems to indicate that the Proteas are in good shape for the World Cup. To Ingram, the Proteas' good form and the talent available makes them strong contenders for the title, with a lack of expectation working in their favour.
"I think South Africa have probably one of the better chances of winning the World Cup, simply because there will be less pressure on them compared to the other more fancied sides. This should allow South Africa to play more freely for one of the first times in a while. They have some dangerous players and some guys who are doing well consistently, as well as guys who will be hungry to do well."
With the experience of playing in the PSL alongside some very talented and skilled Pakistan players, Ingram has a pretty good idea of how well Pakistan could do in the upcoming World Cup and feels that their penchant for doing well in English conditions could hold them in good stead.
"Pakistan as a group have toured England really well in the past and they are currently in reasonable white-ball form as a team," reflected Ingram.
"Having worked with Mickey Arthur as he is the head coach for my PSL side Karachi Kings, I have an idea of how Pakistan work as a team. I feel that they have a wonderful bowling attack, and some exciting batters and their performances have been good in the last 18 months. They are a dangerous side and always seem to play well in England and should do well in the World Cup."
Watch the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event this summer!