A big-hitting middle-order batsman and useful seam bowler who represented South Africa in four tests and 85 One Day Internationals, Justin Kemp made his mark for three domestic franchises, Eastern Province, the Cape Cobras and The Unlimited Titans.
His natural instinct was to attack.
Apart from his longevity, his ability to clear the boundary, contain top-orders with his excellent control as medium-pace bowler and superb catching close to the wicket, set Kemp apart.
In his maiden test for South Africa, against Sri Lanka in 2000/2001, Kemp captured five for 54.
An average subsequent tour of the Caribbean temporarily dented his international progress.
On the England tour in 2004/2005, he struck a superb 80 off 50 deliveries in the series-clinching one-day game in East London.
At home against New Zealand, he struck 73 off 64 balls to underline his ability at international level.
The all-rounder had the ability to play in second gear or fifth gear. He showed he could occupy the crease for a lengthy period when he defied an Australian attack for 213 minutes while scoring 55 at the WACA in Perth in December 2005. That performance secured a stalemate between South Africa and Australia.
It also proved to be the last of his four appearances in tests for South Africa
Kemp made his maiden One Day International century against India at Cape Town in November 2006.
The all-rounder contributed a memorable 100 off 89 balls after South Africa had made a horror start and was in disarray on 76 for six.
Kemp joined Andrew Hall and the duo added 138.
In the Cricket World Cup of 2007, it was Kemp who kept the lethal Australian bowling attack at bay during a disappointing semi-final loss. His fighting 49 could not prevent a seven-wicket loss.
The last of Kemp’s 85 ODIs for South Africa was in Faisalabad in October 2007.
Thereafter, he opted to take the Kolpak route into county cricket by signing a two-year deal with Kent.
While representing the Titans between 2003/2004 and 2006/2007, the all-rounder was a consistent performer and slammed 1059 runs in 18 first-class games for the franchise at an average of 40.73.
A feature of his stay at the Titans was his excellent performances in the 50-over game, where he contributed 747 runs at an average of 67.90 and took 32 scalps as medium-pace bowler.
He was picked up by the Chennai Super Kings in the 2010 IPL auction for $100,000.
Remarkably, the 2014/2015-season was supposed to be a twilight-year for the 37-year old, yet, he still blasted 143 for the Cape Cobras in the final Sunfoil Series-match of the season. He finished with 374 runs at an average of 74.80 in the 2014/2015-season.
In reflecting on his legacy as a Titans legend, one of Kemp’s greatest assets was his swashbuckling style. He could pulverize an attack with his devastating straight hitting and finish in style.
Kemp could also contain well as a medium-pacer, and developed the art of swing bowling very effectively during his sunset-years to become a thorn in the flesh of opponents.
As a close fielder, Kemp was sensational and could pouch catches better than most at second slip with his big hands reminiscent of Brian McMillan.