On 20 April, the Proteas openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar will walk out to take guard: Markram for Durham and Elgar for Surrey.
Elgar will face Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw, while Hashim Amla will be awaiting his nick in the slips. Markram will be up against Heino Kuhn, now of Kent. The County Cricket season is in full swing and once again, South Africans will be playing their part.
This season has been less traumatic than last, when there was a rush of high-profile players taking Kolpak agreements, led by Abbott and Rossouw, Dane Vilas at Lancashire, Simon Harmer at Essex and Stiaan van Zyl at Sussex.
This year, the movement has been more muted, with Kuhn and Morne Morkel (Surrey) cutting their ties with South Africa, although there are more, like Amla, Duanne Olivier and Rory Kleinveld, employed as overseas players.
Hampshire have a strong Saffa flavour, for apart from Abbott, Amla and Rossouw, they have Gareth Berg and Brad Wheal, as well as Dale Steyn, training with the county with a view to taking up a regular position later in the year.
That too ignores the many who are playing as English players through birthright: young talents such as Ricardo Vasconcelos (the Maties, Boland and SA U19 wicketkeeper-batsman who holds a Portuguese passport), Matt Pillans, Conor McKerr and Graeme van Buuren.
For the purposes of this review, we will ignore those who have long since committed themselves to the Three Lions, yet have the bushveld in the veins: Jason Roy, Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Wayne Madsen, Jonathon Trott, Jade Derbach and Stuart Meaker.
Saffas to watch:
Derbyshire: Duanne Olivier, Hardus Viljoen, Daryn Smit.
Durham: Aiden Markram, Brydon Carse, Gareth Harte.
Essex: Simon Harmer.
Glamorgan: Marchant de Lange, Chris Cooke, Colin Ingram, Craig Meschede.
Gloucestershire: Gareth Roderick, Graeme van Buuren.
Hampshire: Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Gareth Berg, Brad Wheal, Calvin Dickinson.
Kent: Heino Kuhn, Sean Dickson.
Lancashire: Dane Vilas.
Leicestershire: Colin Ackermann, Cameron Delport, Dieter Klein.
Northamptonshire: Rory Kleinveld, Richard Levi, Ricardo Vasconcelos.
Somerset: Johann Myburgh, Tim Groenewald, Roelof van der Merwe
Surrey: Morne Morkel, Dean Elgar, Conor McKerr, Matthew Pillans.
Sussex: Stiaan van Zyl, David Wiese.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images