Viljoen joins Kolpak caravan

TMG Digital


TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

LIONS fast bowler Hardus Viljoen has become the second South African test player in less than a month to turn his back on playing for the country of his birth.

The BBC reported that Viljoen has signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Derbyshire, which means the county will be able to field him as a non-overseas player – but also that he cannot be selected for South Africa.

Cobras batsman Stiaan van Zyl took the same option with Sussex last month.

In his only test, against England at the Wanderers in January, Viljoen had Alastair Cook caught behind with his first delivery. Van Zyl played a dozen tests in the past two years.

Derbyshire director of cricket Kim Barnett told the BCC what South Africans know only too well about Viljoen, who has taken 367 wickets at 26.15 in his 92 first-class matches: “He’s a strike bowler who can bowl over 90 miles an hour and has experience both internationally and here in England.”

Both Viljoen and Van Zyl are leading lights on the franchise scene, and while they will be able to continue playing at that level in South Africa the fact that they have taken themselves out of the mix for higher honours should worry administrators.

Both are leading lights on the franchise scene, and while they will be able to continue playing at that level in South Africa the fact that they have taken themselves out of the mix for higher honours should worry administrators.

Viljoen is 27 and Van Zyl 29, which means they are unlikely to be in line for England selection once they have served their seven-year qualification period.

But another South African, Keaton Jennings – a former South Africa under-19 captain and the son of rebel-era wicketkeeper Ray Jennings – opened the batting with Cook for England in the fourth test against India in Mumbai on Thursday and scored 112.

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