Kyle Abbott has revealed that he considered turning his back on SA after he was left out of the 2015 World Cup semi-final.
Abbott decided to call it quits for the Proteas after their second Test against Australia, after he revealed to the media that he had signed a Kolpak deal with Hampshire.
The fast bowler was replaced by Vernon Philander an hour before their World Cup match against the host nation, which media had called a political move by CSA. Based on Abbott’s good form in the tournament up to that point, it was puzzling to not see him in the side which ultimately lost. Abbott had picked up nine wickets 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 than any of the Proteas bowlers.
In an interview with Durban’s East Coast Radio, Abbott opened up on his decision.
‘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 reiterated that transformation was not 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 made a decision to choose ‘career over country’ at a late stage in his life, and he feels that it is not fair for the ‘traitor’ label to be associated with him.
‘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.’
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