Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw’s international career has effectively been ended after the duo have agreed to Kolpak deals with Hampshire.
It should be noted that Abbott has signed a four-year deal for the county team he played as an overseas signing in 2014 while southpaw Rossouw has joined Hampshire on a three-year deal.
“I have signed a Kolpak agreement,” Abbott said after the conclusion of the second Test against Sri Lanka. “It has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make but it is the right decision for me.”
“There have been a few evenings where I have gone to sleep wondering if I made the right decision and woken up in the morning knowing I have. The last few months [since I made the decision] it’s about playing with weight off my shoulders. In the last few months, I have never felt far away from being dropped. I’ve now played thinking if I do it doesn’t matter. I am really enjoying it. If I wasn’t committed to South African cricket, I would have done this a long time ago.
“February would be four years since my international debut. Ever since I played in South Africa, at every level, there has always been a quota system. I have never used it as an excuse and I won’t now. I need to pay bills, I need to buy groceries.”
Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s newly appointed Test captain, didn’t look happy with the way things panned out. Although, he said he totally respects Abbott’s decision but doesn’t agree with it.
“That was not the way we wanted. It was something that we didn’t expect and it was out of our control,” du Plessis said.
“We did get together and spoke to Kyle and tried to change his mind. Kyle had already set up what he wanted to do. Then it was just about me making sure the boys were focused on the job at hand. The boys were brilliant. Even Kyle. He wanted to make sure everything was about the team. I’m a little bit upset that Kyle couldn’t get one or two wickets. Would have liked to see him do well in his last outing.
“Opportunity, money, transformation. There are a lot of factors guys will look at as their excuse or as their reason. What Kyle’s is, I am not sure. Every single reason is a concern. He is someone who has not been sure for a period of time. He wants security.
“I want him playing for South Africa. He is not going to be part of our team so if he is not going to be part of our team, its time to move on. I respect his decision but I don’t agree with it,” he added.
As for Rilee Rossouw, who was last selected for Australia Tests in 2016 (that South Africa won 2-1), believes moving to England will give him and his family long term security which couldn’t have been possible in South Africa.
“I have loved representing the Proteas and will watch from afar with great affection every time they take the field from now on but I am hugely dedicated to making Hampshire cricket successful on the field,” Rossouw said.
“I would like to express my thanks to Cricket South Africa for the opportunity to represent my country and also for the Knights for their continued support.
“The decision to leave South Africa is something I have thought long and hard about and moving to England will give me and my family the long term career security that I believe is important at this stage of my life.”
Rossouw played 36 ODIs and 15 T20Is for South Africa and hit three centuries while Kyle Abbott played 11 Tests, 28 ODIs and 21 T20Is and grabbed a total of 99 wickets.
South Africa have already taken a 2-0 lead in the ongoing three-match series against Sri Lanka. Wayne Parnell, who is already in the squad as a backup pacer, is expected to replace Abbott while Duanne Olivier – Knights seamer – has been called up for the third Test.