The international career of Kyle Abbott has to come an end as the Cricket South Africa (CSA) could not persuade him to stay with national side at the expense of Kolpak deal with Hampshire.
CSA talked to Abbott’s agent, Weber Wan Vyk, but could not come up to terms to keep the right-hander fast bowler in their ranks. As a result, CSA has terminated the central contract of the 29-year old and his teammate, Riley Russow with immediate effect for signing the Kolpak deal with Hampshire.
Abbott played his last Test match against Sri Lanka, where the Proteas registered a massive win by 282 runs. However, the fast bowler remained-wicket-less in the encounter.
“It has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make but it is the right decision for me,” Abbott said after the second Test.
“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,” he told about his decision.
“The last few months [since I made the decision], it’s about playing with the 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,” he added.
Abbott has always performed for his national side whenever he got an opportunity. But, due to the quota system in South Africa, he had to warm the bench often.
“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,” said the pacer.
South Africa’s skipper, Faf Du Plessis expressed his disappointment on losing a gem.
“That was not the way we wanted. It was something that we didn’t expect and it was out of our control. 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,” said Du Plessis.
“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. I would have liked to see him do well in his last outing.,” he told about the recently concluded Test against Sri Lanka.
Faf Du Plessis identified this quota system as a big issue and urged the concerning authorities to address it.
“We have to address it. As the Proteas and as CSA, we need to make sure it doesn’t happen. It is always going to be a challenge. The foreign currency is something that will always be there. It’s too important and too valuable to say that whatever happens, happens and there will be players to fill the gap. That’s not good enough,” he said.
“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,” he added.
However, Faf Du Plessis is not happy with Abbott’s decision of turning his back on the national duty.
“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, it’s time to move on. I respect his decision but I don’t agree with it,” he said.
“Six months ago, I could have understood it more. Sitting here today, I don’t understand it as well. I am extremely surprised. I care so much about him that I want him to play for South Africa, I want him to do well and perform on the biggest stage on the world because I think he is an amazing cricketer and that’s the place to be. I am disappointed for those reasons,” he further added.
CSA’s chief executive, Haroon Lorgat said about the issue, “If somebody gives up their right to play for the Proteas, there’s not much more we can do.”
“Instead of crying over spilt milk, we will invest in future Proteas,” he concluded.