The old and the new from South Africa join forces on the English County Cricket circuit, which starts on Sunday.
While it’s business as usual for old hands Jacques Rudolph, Chris Cooke and Colin Ingram (Glamorgan) and Alviro Petersen (Lancashire), the focus shifts to Surrey, who have signed two promising young South Africans in Dolphins fast bowler Mathew Pillans (24) and former U19 player Conor McKerr (18).
Both are both registered as British players, cutting their ties with South Africa.
The loss of McKerr, who has a British passport, is a severe blow to South Africa. He was singled out by U19 coach Lawrence Mahatla as ‘one to watch’.
Pillans may have felt he had earned the right to a more regular place in the Dolphins franchise team last season when he finished as the seventh-highest wicket-taker overall in the first-class competition and as the Dolphins’ best performing quick. He took 29 wickets at 23.79, which included a 10-for against the Knights.
Pillans was becoming increasingly frustrated, and was ripe for an approach by Graham Ford, who coached Surrey until leaving to take charge of Sri Lanka earlier this year.
Ryan McLaren, who was parachuted in to save Hampshire from relegation, did so well that he has been signed for their County Championship and the T20 Blast as their overseas player.
Rory Kleinveld joins Richard Levi at Northampton for a full season across all formats, as will Kyle Abbott at Worcestershire.
Alviro Petersen will be expected to shoulder more of the batting burden at Lancashire now that his prolific partner Ashwell Prince has retired. But he will at least be joined by Neil Wagner, the Affies old boy who left Northerns in 2008 and made his Test debut for the Black Caps in 2012.
Roelof van der Merwe, who used his Dutch passport to play for that country, has signed for Somerset.
There will be more movement of Saffas when the T20 Blast kicks off, led by Kagiso Rabada, who will get a month’s work at Kent. Also signed for T20s are Chris Morris (Surrey) and Rilee Rossouw (Leicestershire).
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