Abbott bombshell hits SA cricket

Times Media


TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

CRICKET SA (CSA) will meet with Kyle Abbott’s agents on Wednesday following a report claiming the fast bowler plans to retire from international cricket at the end of the month to pursue a career in England.

ESPNCricinfo reported on Monday that Abbott is “on the verge” of signing “a three or four-year deal with Hampshire that will realistically end his international career”.

Which translates into a Kolpak deal, the terms of which preclude players from representing South Africa.

“CSA is aware of the story on Abbott,” CSA’s head of media and communications, Altaaf Kazi, said on Tuesday.

“We don’t have any comment at this stage and will be meeting with his agent tomorrow to get clarity.”

The move would come as a surprise considering Abbott, a victim of selectorial silliness in the past, has bowled his way into something close to an established position in South Africa’s attack.

Helped in part by injuries to Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, Abbott has played in seven of South Africa’s last 13 completed tests and taken 26 wickets at 22.03.

As recently as Friday, after the first test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in which Abbott took match figures of 5/101, he seemed firmly committed to the national cause.

“Being out the side and sitting on the sidelines for so long and now getting an opportunity and doing well, it’s a great feeling,” Abbott said.

“It’s a long period of time of hard work that’s starting to pay off and getting an opportunity at this level to showcase my skills.

“The team’s in a great space and so am I. It’s exciting to see what’s going to come.

“There’s only 90 or so of us who have played test cricket (for South Africa since readmission) so I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to do it.

“It’s the place where you want to play your cricket.  When Faf (du Plessis) welcomed Theunis de Bruyn into the squad he said, ‘This is where you’re going to be playing your cricket; it doesn’t get any better than this’, and he’s absolutely right.

“We’re enjoying our cricket at the moment because we’ve got that attitude of, ‘This is the place, this is where we want to play, this is the place we want to perform and really be tested’.”

Abbott is playing in the second test against Sri Lanka at Newlands.

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