South African speedster Duanne Olivier is the latest to quit the South African cricket system and sign a three-year Kolpak contract with Yorkshire. Olivier, 26, had a fantastic season with the Proteas taking 24 wickets in the 3-0 clean sweep of Pakistan. He was also named man of the series and went on to rise to top 20 in the ICC Test bowler rankings.
Olivier’s departure will be a big blow to South Africa, who fought hard to keep him. But with fierce competition followed by a quota system, whereby the target is for an average of six players of colour in the first XI, he has chosen the comparative security of English domestic cricket.
“I came over to the UK last year and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing county cricket,” Yorkshire website quoted him as saying. “I have since realised I could happily base myself there for the foreseeable future,” he added.
“I was originally looking to come back as an overseas player, but when I got a long-term offer from Yorkshire as a Kolpak, I knew that signing for the club would be the best option for both myself and my family,” he added.
“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” he added. “It’s giving up playing for my country, with no guarantees of playing international cricket again. But at the end of the day, I needed to be true to myself. I’ve only got this one chance to see where my talent can take me, and Yorkshire just felt right to me,” he further added.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) expressed their disappointment over Olivier’s move. CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe said that the pacer had been given a national cricket contract in the current season.
“We find it extremely disappointing that Duanne has taken this step after all the opportunities we have given him, particularly over the past season and going forward, to live his dream of being an international cricketer,” Moroe was quoted as saying.
“He was upgraded to a national contract during the current season on the strength of his outstanding performances in our Test squad, and we offered him a two-year contract which would have given him financial security through to the end of the 2020-2021 season.”
“He was not short of opportunity either, as he played in all six Castle Lager Test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the current summer and was also considered for white-ball selection.”
“If one looks at the bigger picture, this is not good news for the global game either that a player who has just broken into the top 20 on the ICC Test match bowling rankings for the first time should opt effectively to bring down the curtain on his international career in favour of playing only in domestic leagues,” concluded Moroe.