Rilee Roscoe Rossouw
October 09, 1989, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State
Left hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Top order batter
Rilee Rossouw, a stylish top-order batsman with an elegant and authoritative drive, proved himself as a high-impact batsman for South Africa in limited-overs formats before opting for a Kolpak deal in English county cricket at Hampshire.
Rossouw departed on the same day as his team-mate Kyle Abbott, but it was Rossouw who suffered the ire of South Africa's coach Russell Domingo, who had his four ducks in his first six ODI innings in mind when he said: "We backed him when he made five noughts", adding of his early failures: "If that had been a player of colour, everyone would have said transformation."
He first came to attention in the 2008 Under-19 World Cup, returning to play for the Eagles franchise, (later renamed Knights), where he was their highest run-getter in the 2008-09 season. In 2009-10, he went one better and was the leading run-scorer in the first-class competition with 1189 runs at an average of 66.05. In the next season, he was the second-highest run-getter in the one-day cup.
He was rewarded with a place in the South Africa A squad which toured Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2010. Rossouw averaged over 40 in first-class cricket in three of the four seasons which followed - 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 - and despite regular appearances in A sides, he was still unable to break into to the Test team.
One particular tweet did not help. Like many South Africans, Rossouw, then 21, took the team's quarter-final defeat to New Zealand at the World Cup hard. His post included the word "chokers" and, although it was soon deleted, the memory stuck.
It was in the shorter formats where he had more opportunities. In 2014, Rossouw picked up an IPL contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore, although playing opportunities were limited in a star-studded squad. Eventually, in August that year, he was included in a South Africa's ODI squad.
He toured Zimbabwe for a visit that also included a tri-series against Australia. He had a nightmarish start to international cricket and racked up four ducks in his first six innings. The South African selectors, though, had seen evidence of his quality over seasons in the domestic game and persisted with him. He was also included in the T20 squad for the Australia tour in November 2014, where he scored 78 in his first match in Adelaide.
In January 2015, Rossouw scored his first international century, against West Indies in Johannesburg, in a match in which several records were broken including the fastest ODI century at the time, scored by AB de Villiers. Rossouw had done enough to be included in the 2015 World Cup squad where he played in six matches, including the quarter-final and semi-final. Rossouw was also part of South Africa's 2016 World T20 squad, bagging a duck in the only match he played.
His final international appearance came in October 2016 as he hit a sensational 122 at quicker than a run a ball to secure a 5-0 ODI series-win over Australia before it was announced early in the New Year that he had signed for Hampshire on a three-year deal, one of several South Africans to take advantage of the Kolpak registration that was under long-term threat because of the UK's vote to leave the European Union.
He made an immediate impact, smashing a career-best 156 against Somerset in the Royal London Cup, but failed to make a century in the Championship before his season was curtailed when he suffered a broken finger in a T20 tie in Chelmsford. The following year that century did come against Lancashire, after emergency dental surgery as well, and a century in the Royal London Cup final against Kent at Lord's brought Hampshire another limited-overs trophy.
Rossouw then became a man in demand on the franchise T20 circuit, finishing the 2018-19 Bangladesh Premier League as the leading run-scorer with 558 at an average of 69.75, and then winning the Pakistan Super League with Quetta.
His 2019 season was bizarre: he chose the week before the Championship season started to declare he was considering his future as a red-ball player, and after hitting four fifties as Hampshire reached another 50-over final, he returned back to South Africa early after a disappointing Blast. He was picked up as a local player in the inaugural draft for the Hundred, and was expected to return to the Ageas Bowl to play in the Blast for Hampshire, but not the Championship.
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