SA braces for possibility of Abbott exit

2017-01-04 09:11
Kyle Abbott (Getty)

Cape Town - The quality of the cricket at Newlands on Tuesday should have hogged headlines as the Proteas needed under two sessions to bowl Sri Lanka out. 

Instead, a report on ESPN Cricinfo linking South African fast bowler Kyle Abbott to English county side Hampshire was the major topic of discussion. 

The story claimed that Abbott was on the verge of signing a "three or four year" Kolpak deal with the club that would effectively end his international career.

It was shocking news given that Abbott, who was so good for the Proteas in Australia, has just broken into the Test side and is a regular player in the limited overs formats. 

The 29-year-old has finally earned an extended run and is in superb form. 

Why would he leave now? 

Well, the suggestion is that the negotiations between Abbott and Hampshire started before Australia when he was still battling to get into the Test side. 

Abbott took nine wickets on Test debut against Pakistan back in 2013 and would then have to wait over a year for his next cap, and that is a good indication of just how frustrating a career it's been for him on the international stage. 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) are due to meet with Abbott's agent on Wednesday in an attempt to get to the bottom of all of this, but the fact that they could not dismiss the story on Tuesday is concerning from a South African perspective. 

The "good news" for the Proteas is that nothing seems to have been finalised. 

Hampshire were also refusing to comment on the matter on Tuesday and the story made it clear that there was still room for development. 

Should Abbott take the deal, he would join the likes of Stiaan van Zyl (Sussex), Hardus Viljoen (Derbyshire) and Simon Harmer (Essex) as recently-capped Proteas to have given up - temporarily, at least - on their international careers. 

A problem facing South African rugby in a massive way is seemingly impacting South African cricket more and more. 

But, according to Vernon Philander, the decisions of players who choose to go abroad need to be respected.

"That’s a personal decision that each player has to make for himself and we’ve got to respect that decision as fellow players," he said.

"If they feel that is the best route going forward for them in their careers then, by all means. It’s a personal decision you have to make as a player and we respect that."

Philander would not comment of the Abbott situation.


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