• Kyle Abbott quits Proteas

    Kyle Abbott has decided to take a Kolpak contract with Hampshire and will leave the Proteas immediately.

    And he will be joined by Rilee Rossouw, the Knights batsman who played 36 ODIs and 15 T20s for South Africa.

    The news broke on Tuesday morning, but no player or official would comment until the second Test against Sri Lanka was concluded.

    ‘It has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make but it is the right decision for me,’ Abbott said in a post-match press conference. ‘There have been a few evenings where I have gone to sleep wondering if I made the right decision and woken up in the morning knowing I have.

    ‘In the past few months, I have been playing with the weight off my shoulders. I have never felt far away from being dropped. I’ve now played thinking, ”it doesn’t matter”. I am really enjoying it.’

    The contract will give him four years of financial security, he said.

    Abbott has played 11 Tests since making his debut in 2013, always second choice to Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. He also played 28 ODIs and 21 T20s and was  controversially left out of the World Cup semi-final team for an unfit Vernon Philander in 2015

    Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s captain, said: ‘That was not the way we wanted. It was something that we didn’t expect and it was out of our control. We did get together and spoke to Kyle and tried to change his mind. Kyle had already set up what he wanted to do. I’m a little bit upset that Kyle couldn’t get one or two wickets. I would have liked to see him do well in his last outing

    This announcement is a ‘red flag’ said Du Plessis. ‘We have to address it. As the Proteas and as CSA, we need to make sure it doesn’t happen. It is always going to be a challenge. The foreign currency is something that will always be there. It’s too important and too valuable to say that whatever happens, happens and there will be players to fill the gap. That’s not good enough.

    ‘I want him playing for South Africa. He is not going to be part of our team so if he is not going to be part of our team, it’s time to move on. I respect his decision but I don’t agree with it.

    “Six months ago, I could have understood it more. Sitting here today, I don’t understand it as well. I am extremely surprised. I care so much about him that I want him to play for South Africa, I want him to do well and perform on the biggest stage on the world because I think he is an amazing cricketer and that’s the place to be. I am disappointed for those reasons.”

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