We spoke exclusively to South African batsman Colin Ingram, whose stifled international career has taken a backseat to a lucrative county contract – and more.
Your decision to sign a three-year Kolpak contract with Glamorgan has come as somewhat of a surprise to the South African cricket public…
It is unfortunate that I have had to sign a Kolpak contract, but in the long term it is going to be really good for my game. Playing the next three seasons of cricket, flat out, will be great – and we will see from there. It doesn’t change my position with the Warriors, I’m still heavily committed to them and I look forward to the journey with them.
Did a relatively successful stint with Somerset earlier this year influence your decision to pursue more cricket in the United Kingdom?
I played in the UK in the last South African winter, spending six weeks with Somerset. I did quite nicely with them. I have been looking for extra cricket – and not just extra T20 cricket. Over the last couple of years, my long-format cricket has been pretty good. My form in general has been good for three or four years. Obviously playing as much cricket as they do over there can only be beneficial. With 18 games in the English County Championship per season, that’s more than enough for me to keep working hard on the things I have been doing over the last couple of years. I’m looking forward to establishing myself there and building my game there, after my agent looked around and this offer came along.
Fellow South African Jacques Rudolph’s presence at Glamorgan must have aided the process?
It was great chatting to Jacques, who gave me an inside scoop on what is going on over there. It sounds like it is going to be a good move for myself – and a good move for my family. The deal speaks for itself, really. It was great to see Jacques over that side. asking him what it is like and what the team environment is like. Team environment, that’s important to me in terms of growing my game. Glamorgan have big plans to boost their team, similar to what I am going through at the Warriors, so I identify with that. The UK, of course, is a great place to play cricket.
The Glamorgan contract, of course, is subject to clearance from Cricket South Africa?
I don’t exactly know how it works, but I am only contracted until April in South Africa anyway. Obviously the county contract starts after April. I have to qualify for a work permit in the UK. I have to get on that quite soon. I can’t go over there as an international player because the same period is over my international window, so I have to get moving on the work permit before the deadline.
You have not played a T20I or ODI since November last year – and won’t be available for South African selection until May 2018. Is this the end of the road for your international career?
At the moment I haven’t been given the backing by South Africa. I feel I need to go away and carry on improving my game and become a more complete player, a more complete batsman. This is the best option for me at the moment, to play cricket all year-round. I know I won’t be up for selection for South Africa for the next couple of years, but in the long run that is the goal, to be selected for the Proteas again. In order to play in England I have to sign a Kolpak deal, which basically says that I’m playing there and I can’t play for my county back home. So I will move my whole operation, sort of, over to the UK for a couple of years.
Your last experience of international cricket, in 2013, brought very poor form as an opening batsman. Three consecutive ducks took the shine off the trio of ODI centuries you struck in the middle order previously, somewhat …
If I look back, it probably wasn’t the best thing for my career. Even at the Warriors, I had moved away from opening, instead batting at three, four or five. It was a tough position to be in. But in saying that, I was just glad to be given the backing to play – unfortunately it didn’t work out.
You took over the Warriors captaincy from Davy Jacobs on a full-time basis earlier this year. Was the transition from the rank and file to the helm difficult?
I’ve captained the Warriors here and there over the last couple of years, so this wasn’t an entirely new job for me. Davy has had a few injuries over time, so I was filling in quite a bit – and it hasn’t been much different. It is challenging to have a young or inexperienced side, but I’ve really got a lot of positive results out of the guys. I know it hasn’t always shown in results, but I have been working hard on team culture and putting a positive vibe in our cricket.
The death of Australian batsman Phil Hughes has hurt the world of cricket this month. How are you feeling about the tragedy?
I didn’t play cricket with or against Phil. It’s a sad time for cricket. He was someone I enjoyed watching play the game, someone I admired. He would have got a lot more time in the Australian side. The best was still to come from him. It’s a massively sad time. The whole cricket world will be feeling it. I enjoyed watching him play. He was an exciting player, he had inventive strokes – and didn’t have a normal technique. He played a spirited game, which I identified with. Condolences to his family.
By Jonhenry Wilson