Although not paid like Premier League soccer stars or gridiron greats of the NFL, the pros that represent the Proteas in international competition and particularly the ones who play abroad in lucrative competitions like the Indian Premier League still make a pretty penny.
A 2018 study into the highest-paid South African cricketers found AB de Villiers received over R20,000,000 for his contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore alone. Playing limited-overs cricket in the IPL is clearly where the big bucks are at. Big-hitting batsman De Villiers has since retired from representing South Africa, but intends to keep playing Twenty20 cricket for the foreseeable future aged 35. With a pay packet like that for turning out in the IPL, it’s easy to see why!
As wealthy as De Villiers is, his IPL contract pales in comparison to what top footballers from South Africa have earned in the last decade. Benni McCarthy is one of the Rainbow nation’s most successful soccer players of the 21st Century and his weekly wages at West Ham United were R500,000 which amounts to about R26,000,000 per year.
It’s almost impossible for the average South African person to relate to salaries like these and you would have to win a lotto jackpot in order to receive that kind of money. However, the biggest ever payout in South African lottery was R232,131,750.69, which dwarfs what De Villiers and McCarthy earned annually.
Proteas pace bowler Kagiso Rabada burst onto the international scene a few years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Recent IPL contracts with Delhi Capitals (formerly and better known as Delhi Daredevils) for the 24-year-old were worth close to R8,000,000.
That still puts the rampant and quick Rabada behind Chris Morris in the South African cricket wealth list, however. The pair were IPL teammates in Indian capital Delhi, but all-rounder Morris has since been released ahead of the 2020 auction that takes place before the new season.
Joining fellow South African players Dale Steyn and David Miller in looking for a new team, Morris was on a tidy sum contract wise. Delhi paid around R12,500,000 during his time with them, so whoever bids from him in the IPL auction needs a large chequebook to secure his services.
The aforementioned Miller is next on the Proteas’ cricketing richlist. He spent seven IPL campaigns with the Kings XI Punjab and, towards the end of the lengthy spell, his contract was worth in excess of R5,500,000.
Another middle-order batsman, Miller has concentrated on limited-overs cricket for both club and country since announcing he was no longer available for first class formats. Aged just 30, he has years left to dedicate to his specialism and continues to play One Day Internationals and T20s for South Africa.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has played for four different IPL franchises at the age of just 27. After spells with Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore and most recently Mumbai Indians, he has enjoyed a number of lucrative contracts.
When playing alongside De Villiers for the Royal Challengers, De Kock earned over R5,200,000. Mumbai’s purchase of him proved a smart move as they went on win the IPL in 2019 in which he scored 29 runs and was involved in the dismissal of four Chennai Super Kings players.