“Rory Kleinveldt was a phenomenal first-class cricketer for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras and South Africa and will be hard to replace in whites for the Cobras,” said coach Ashwell Prince.

He and Dane Piedt, the skipper, hailed the character and playing style of Kleinveldt, who decided to call it a day in first-class cricket after 17 years upon the conclusion of the Four Day Franchise Series match against the Warriors on Thursday.

“He is a highly skilled bowler who bowls a heavy ball and has a never-say-die attitude in the red-ball version of the game,” said Piedt.

“He looked to swing it at the start and then hit the seam consistently. One of his biggest strengths is that he bowled quickly and looked to hit the deck hard.

“The only regret he might have is that he did not score centuries for the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras,” added Piedt.

“What he contributed to the first-class arena was something amazing. Nine years ago when I started he took me under his wings and helped me,” Piedt added.

“Rory can be proud of what he has achieved over 17 years. He received the ultimate accolade – he represented his country in tests, One Day Internationals and T20 matches. He forced his way into the national team through the sheer force of performances,” Prince said.

“In the dressing room, he was always a great team-mate and a straight talker.”

As a lower order batsman he was a danger man who regularly found or cleared the ropes and he showed glimpses of his best batting form in his final first-class game against the Warriors, the coach commented.

“He will be remembered as a great runner who never shirked his responsibilities in bowling his overs. Some people made comments about his weight but he did his yo-yo tests and ran 5 kilometres, 10 kilometres and half-marathons,” Prince said.

“He has had a wonderful career and is going to be missed as leader of the attack,” Prince added.

Kleinveldt captured 452 wickets in 148 first-class matches, mostly as carrier of the new ball.

He captured 50 wickets for Northampton in the 2017/2018 season, which included a career-best 9-65.

“Rory was a pivotal part of the World Sport Betting Cape Cobras’ golden trophy-hugging period. One of his greatest traits is his longevity and his all-round role and determination will be missed,” said Nabeal Dien, chief executive officer of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA).

“I saw Rory’s skills and ability very early in his career. In fact at 16 years of age I sent him to the UK and only saw him on an upward trajectory since then – representing SA U19, Western Province, Cobras and South Africa.

“He has been an outstanding servant of the game,” Dien added.

“Rory played club cricket while still at school and served Western Province and the World Sports Betting Cape Cobras with distinction over a period of 17 years. We are grateful he will still be available in the white-ball formats as he has been a leader of the attack for such an extensive period,” said Beresford Williams, president of the WPCA.