Johannesburg: South Africa’s left-handed batsman Rilee Rossouw and pacer Kyle Abbott’s dreams of representing the national side are virtually over as the duo on Thursday signed long-term contracts with England’s domestic cricket side Hampshire.
Abbott has joined the county on a four-year Kolpak deal after talks with Cricket South Africa (CSA) failed to convince the fast bowler to continue playing for his country.
Rossouw also joined the county as a Kolpak-registered player on a three-year contract.
The Kolpak ruling ensures players from any nation with a trading relationship with the European Union can freely play as a professional.
Commenting on the development, Abbott said he was delighted to join the club and is confident of giving a much more improved performance in coming seasons.
“I am delighted to be joining Hampshire for the 2017 season onwards. I have an extremely strong affection with the Club given my previous stints there and can’t wait to get the ball in my hand at the start of the season,” Abbott said.
Thanking CSA for the opportunities, the 29-year-old said: “I would also like to express my thanks to Cricket South Africa and the Warriors for their understanding during this process.”
“Making the decision to commit my long term future to Hampshire was undoubtedly the most difficult one I have ever had to make and I leave with more than a little sadness knowing that I won’t represent the Proteas again.”
“Representing my country was undoubtedly the biggest honour in my career and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have represented South Africa and the Proteas,” he added.
The 27-year-old Rossouw on his part said: “I can confirm that I have agreed and signed a three-year deal with Hampshire Cricket. Deciding 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.”
“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.”
The CSA announced it had terminated Abbott’s national contract by mutual agreement and with immediate effect, and that it was in the process of following a similar process for Rossouw.
“It is a disappointing day not just for South African cricket, but also for international cricket as these players have given up their opportunity to be seen in action on the international circuit,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.