Former Proteas spinner Simon Harmer has effectively closed the door on possibly playing for England one day as a result of Brexit rules.
Harmer, who played five Test matches for South Africa in 2015 before signing a Kolpak deal, delivered a man-of-the-match performance in Essex’s 169-run victory over Surrey on Tuesday.
Post-match, Harmer said the impact of England leaving the European Union and the subsequent effect on Kolpak players mean his chances of representing England are all but over.
‘With the Kolpak ruling changing, as far as I know with clarity, the Kolpaks will fall away at the end of the year when England leaves the EU and therefore the door closes.
‘I have explored trying to get on to a different visa so that I can have more rights, in terms of buying property and a whole load of other things, but I got a very stern no from Alan Fordham at the ECB. As far as I am concerned there is no future there.’
The 31-year-old took figures of 6-67 and 8-64 in Chelmsford – the third time in his career he had bagged 14 or more wickets in a first- class match.
He was also the leading wicket-taker during Essex’s triumphant season last year when they won the County Championship with many tipping him good enough for England selection.
The Brexit laws could, however, create a small chance of him returning to South Africa to represent the Proteas again, should Cricket South Africa change its regulations.
But, Harmer admits that a lot will still need to happen before he could be seen in the Proteas colours once again.
‘There is a lot happening back in South Africa and I don’t know what the feeling is back home,’ he continued.
‘As far as I’m concerned, my main focus is with my employer which is Essex. I don’t look too far ahead and just try to do as well as I possibly can.
‘If other things happen and fall into place then what will be, will be. I can only focus on myself, my own performances, on Essex and trying to contribute as I can to winning as many trophies as I possibly can. As a professional cricketer that’s what it all boils down to.’