Cricket: Rookie Dean Foxcroft's decision to leave South Africa pays off with Blackcaps call-up

Blackcaps rookie all-rounder Dean Foxcroft knew from a young age his international future lay outside of South Africa.

His decision to leave the sunshine of Pretoria for New Zealand as a teenager in 2016 seemed a risky bet, but it's a decision that's paid off with a maiden Blackcaps call-up.

Foxcroft, 25, was one of two debutants included in coach Gary Stead's Twenty20 squad to tour UAE in August.

His form for the Otago Volts made his selection an almost forgone conclusion, with paperwork providing the only obstacle.

After many hurdles, including a COVID-enforced exile, leaving him stranded in South Africa for two years, Foxcroft is finally reaping the rewards.

He will become just the latest SA-born player to represent his adopted country, joining the likes of Blackcaps star Devon Conway.

Foxcroft. Photo credit: Photosport

But despite being crowned NZ Cricket's domestic player of the year after topping the Super Smash run-scoring charts, he admits his call-up came as a shock.

"I didn't expect it, I thought my time is not yet," Foxcroft said. "And then two weeks ago, Stead called me to say they would try and get my qualifications with the ICC approved.

"Obviously, a bit of paperwork went into that and then last week at the camp, he congratulated me on all the paperwork being approved and that I've been selected for the UAE tour.

"It's been quite special, and an unreal feeling. It's something I dreamt about for a long time, so it's pretty good.

"It was a bit of a shock, I hadn't had any conversation with the selectors or anything. There was a New Zealand A tour of Australia and I got selected for that.

"For me, it was just about trying to prepare for that series, and Steady's call was quite a shock to me and I didn't expect it."

Foxcroft's journey from a South Afriac U19 star to Blackcaps bolter hasn't come without sacrifices, including from those closest to him.

He detailed the phone conversation to his parents back home in South Africa, and hopes his call-up to the Blackcaps is only the beginning of his international career.

"Everyone's very happy," Foxcroft said. "A lot of emotions going on, and a lot of tears as well. I called Mom and Dad on Saturday to say 'Hey, it happened', and they were over the moon.

"There were a lot of sacrifices that went into it way back, and it's a decision we made from a young age as well.

"Obviously, it's paid off, but it's still part of the journey now and it's only the start, so keep going on, and hopefully, I can play a lot of games for the Blackcaps in the future."

Foxcroft's time in South Africa coincided with something of a golden generation of Proteas cricket. But while he admits to looking up to them, there's one Blackcaps star, in particular, he has admired for some time.

"Back in SA, there was the likes of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers, but in 2016 I made the move, and one of my idols was Kane Williamson," he said.

"I admire his batting style, and obviously, Rosco [Ross Taylor] was there, and for me, it was looking up to them.

"The way they play in New Zealand and all over the world, and adapt to the conditions, I'm a massive fan of Kane, and hopefully I can spend some time with him and pick his brain."