Proteas

Abbott: I nearly left after 2015 World Cup

2017-02-06 08:57
Kyle Abbott (Gallo Images)

Durban - Former Proteas bowler Kyle Abbott has confirmed that he came close to giving up on international cricket when he was left out of the 2015 World Cup semi-final side that lost to New Zealand in Auckland. 

In what would become one of the most controversial moments in South Africa's World Cup cricket history, Abbott was dropped from the side at the final hour to accommodate the return of Vernon Philander, who had been injured for the quarter-final win over Sri Lanka. 

It didn't take long for media reports back in South Africa to suggest that Abbott's omission had been politically-driven, while Cricket South Africa (CSA) management was forced to defend the decision to opt for Philander. 

Abbott had picked up 9 wickets in the tournament at an average of 14.4 in the four matches he had played up until the semi-final. He had the best economy rate and average of any of the Proteas bowlers. 

It was not enough, and Abbott would miss out on what would have been the biggest match of his career up until then. 

He would continue to float in and out of the Proteas starting XI in all formats, and then in early 2017 news broke that he had signed a four-year Kolpak deal with English County side Hampshire that would effectively end his international career. 

Now, in an interview with Durban's East Coast Radio, Abbott has opened up on his decision to leave South Africa. 

Most interestingly, he confirmed to the radio station that he had come close to leaving after the 2015 World Cup. 

"I was very close to walking away after the 2015 World Cup and even a year later," said Abbott. 

"But I gave it another year because I wanted to play.

"I felt that that would be turning my back (on South Africa) where now suddenly it would be sour grapes that I was dropped for the semi-final.

"You can understand the emotions I went through then and having the opportunity to leave, then and there, and I said 'I can't'. That, I felt, would have been me being a traitor and turning my back. But I've given it another two years since then.

"I've averaged 40% of the games for South Africa over four years. 

"I've got no regrets. I needed the two years after the World Cup to do stuff and tick a few boxes."

Abbott added that he had never considered South Africa's transformation policy as the reason for him struggling to be a regular in the side.

"Absolutely not," he said.

"From when I started playing cricket... although they weren't official, there were targets. I've never used that as an excuse.

"It's the way things are going and I think South Africa has embraced it now because we've actually come out now and said what we are doing.

"There is nowhere to hide. In the past there were times when decisions were made and guys were asking 'Is it because of this?' and nobody could answer. Now we're saying 'These are the rules' and I think everybody is at peace with that."

Abbott does not view himself as a traitor, but he says he is okay with the idea that he has opted for 'career over country'. 

"It's been a tough four years. Things never ran smoothly. A seed was planted early after I made my debut and it took me 11 months to get back into a squad," said Abbott. 

"That was four years ago and I've played 12 Test matches. I'm not saying I deserved to play 50 in those four years, but even in ODIs and T20s I haven't even got to 30 in either of those.

"I'm going to be 30 this year and I can't see how any of this is going to change."

Abbott took nine wickets on his Test debut against Pakistan back in 2013 but would have to wait over a year for his second cap. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  kyle abbott  |  durban  |  cricket
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