Cape Town - Two former South African cricket stars have backed Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw’s decisions to make themselves unavailable for the Proteas.
This comes after news broke on Thursday that the duo had signed Kolpak deals with English county side Hampshire.
Rossouw's deal with Hampshire is set for three years, while Abbott confirmed he will be at the county for four years.
Abbott, 29, has played 10 Tests for South Africa, taking 39 wickets and has appeared in 28 ODIs and 21 T20Is.
Rossouw, 27, has made 1 239 runs in his 36 ODIs and has played 15 T20Is for South Africa.
Fanie de Villiers, a former Proteas fast bowler, told Netwerk24 that he supported the players' decisions.
“It was definitely not an emotional decision they simply made overnight. It is a calculated decision which probably kept them awake many nights where they would have weighed up all the possibilities.”
De Villiers said Abbott was in the past “treated like a stepchild” in the national setup.
“Even though he has now received game-time, there is no assurance that he would not again receive harsh treatment in future.”
Symcox, a former Proteas spinner, also supported Abbott’s decision, hinting that the 2015 World Cup 'SMS' debacle may have played a part.
Abbott was set to play against New Zealand in the semi-final, before being replaced by a less-than-100% fit Vernon Philander.
Reports emerged afterwards that Cricket SA CEO Haroon Lorgat had sent an SMS to instruct the Proteas coaching staff to pick Philander, a player of colour. Lorgat denied the reports.
South Africa bowed out of the World Cup with a narrow loss to New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland.
After hearing Thursday's news, Symcox wrote on his official Twitter page: Earlier in the week, before Abbott's departure was made official, Symcox wrote on his official Facebook page:"Funny how the wheel turns...see CSA want to try and keep Kyle Abbott from going to play in the UK...they need him now. I know I would tell them to get stuffed after he was robbed of playing in a WCup semi due to a CSA team change sms debacle..."