CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Fast bowler Duanne Olivier has turned down a two-year national team contract with South Africa to sign a deal with Yorkshire that will most likely put an end to his international career just as it was starting to blossom.
The 26-year-old will play for Yorkshire for the next three seasons on a Kolpak deal, which allows South Africans to be registered as locally based players in Britain but also prevents them from playing for their home country.
Kolpak refers to a European Court of Justice ruling allowing some non-European Union players to play in the EU. Such deals will most likely not be possible in cricket after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Olivier’s move has angered Cricket South Africa (CSA), as he was the star performer for his country in their 3-0 home test series whitewash of Pakistan earlier in the season and has 48 wickets in 10 tests at an average of 19.25, putting him 19th on the International Cricket Council’s test bowler rankings.
He was also recently added to the country’s One-Day International squad that puts him in line for World Cup selection.
“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” Olivier told Yorkshire’s website (yorkshireccc.com).
“It’s giving up playing for my country with no guarantees of playing international cricket again.
“But at the end of the day, I needed to be true to myself. I’ve only got this one chance to see where my talent can take me, and Yorkshire just felt right to me.”
Cricket South Africa said it was bad news for the global game that a player clearly on the rise has turned their back on international cricket to play the county circuit.
“We find it extremely disappointing that Duanne has taken this step after all the opportunities we have given him,” CSA Chief Executive Thabang Moroe said in a statement.
“This is not good news for the global game either that a player who has just broken into the top 20 on the ICC Test match bowling rankings for the first time should opt effectively to bring down the curtain on his international career in favour of playing only in domestic leagues.”
Olivier played for Derbyshire in the County Championship Division Two last year, taking 31 wickets in seven matches at an average of 27.48.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson