At just 26-years of age, South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier has made a decision that has stunned South African cricket by turning his back on a promising International career with the Proteas to sign for English County Cricket side Yorkshire.
Why can’t he just play for both you may ask as all the England players are associated with County sides, well the answer is relatively straightforward.
Olivier has waived his rights to play for South Africa under the Kolpak rule that states ‘a player must give up his right to play for his country during the length of his deal with a county’.
Naturally, Olivier’s announcement was met with disappoint in his home country with Cricket South Africa even having offered the Groblersdal native a two-year national contract which he declined in favour of a move to England.
Yorkshire are of course a club with a rich cricketing heritage as does the nation as a whole. So much so in fact that England are the hosts of the ICC World Cup 2019 and favourites to win the tournament on home soil.
Did that make Olivier want to play in England over representing his nation? The answer is no and much more understandable than that.
It seems that stability won the day for the man who took 31 wickets across five test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the summer for the Proteas.
Olivier signed a three-year-deal with the thirty-three-time County Championship winners and it was that long-term commitment from the White Rose outfit that swayed Duanne to commit the next three-years of his career to first-class cricket in England.
Speaking on Twitter, Olivier made it clear that it is was no easy task snubbing his national side for Yorkshire but one that he felt was ‘right’ for himself.
However, it seems that Cricket South Africa has every right to feel a little aggrieved. After all, the Proteas themselves had a two-year national contract on the table for Olivier that would have earned him the stability it seems he requires and the chance to continue pitting his wits against the best in the world.
The Proteas clearly invested a lot of time in him as well as the summer can testify, and perhaps more surprisingly is that Olivier had just broken into the South Africa ODI side with the aforementioned World Cup on the horizon.
Standout performances against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the summer had Olivier marked out as a future long-term star for South Africa with his flexibility in bowling fast or medium pace making him a valuable asset across all formats of the game.
However, don’t be too harsh as Olivier is not the only man to turn his back on South Africa through the Kolpak ruling, Kyle Abbot and MorneMorkel have made similar moves to Hampshire and Surrey respectively in recent years that has gone someway in hampering the immediate prospects of South African cricket on the international stage.
For now, the English County championship gets underway on the 5th April with Yorkshire travelling to Trent Bridge to take on Nottinghamshire.
Expect fireworks on the banks of the Trent as Olivier attempts to steal all the headlines for the right reasons this time.