Duanne Olivier, who made waves in Test cricket for South Africa in recent times, has brought an end to his international career after signing a three-year deal with England's county side Yorkshire, pending clearance of Kolpak regulations.
The 26-year-old was currently one of the most in potent pacers in the international circuit, having claimed 31 wickets in five Tests since being recalled by South Africa in December.
The right-arm quick made his Test debut in January 2017, but was unable to earn a decent run until December 2018 where he was called back for the against Pakistan. He took 24 wickets in the three Tests in that series and was awarded the Player of the Series.
His performance earned him an ODI debut against the same opposition where he picked up three wickets in two outings. Olivier was also a part of South Africa's squad for two-Test series against Sri Lanka which the hosts lost 2-0. "My decision might be difficult for some to understand but being a professional cricket player is a short-lived career and in order for me to make the most of all my opportunities, I had to consider all my options," he said in a statement on Instagram.
"I came over to the UK last year and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing county cricket," Olivier told Yorkshire's website. "I have since realised I could happily base myself there for the foreseeable future."
Olivier, who played for Derbyshire in 2018 took 31 wickets in seven Championship games.
"I was originally looking to come back as an overseas player but when I got a long-term offer from Yorkshire as a Kolpak I knew that signing for the club would be the best option for both myself and my family. I am a bowler that wants to keep pushing myself to see how far I can go and as I enter my prime I want to be in the best possible situation to grow. Another big reason was the longevity of my career."
His overall total of 48 wickets in 10 Tests has lifted him into the top 20 bowlers in the ICC Test match rankings.
“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” he added. “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 released a statement later on expressing its disappointment at Olivier’s decision to continue his career as a Kolpak player in England.
“We find it extremely disappointing that Duanne has taken this step after all the opportunities we have given him, particularly over the past season and going forward, to live his dream of being an international cricketer,” commented CSA Chief Executive Thabang Moroe.
“He was upgraded to a national contract during the current season on the strength of his outstanding performances in our Test squad and we offered him a two-year contract which would have given him financial security through to the end of the 2020-2021 season.
“He was not short of opportunity either as he played in all six Castle Lager Test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the current summer and was also considered for white ball selection.
“If one looks at the bigger picture 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,” concluded Mr. Moroe.
Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson echoed Mr. Moroe’s sentiments. “We are naturally disappointed with Duanne’s decision to sign a Kolpak contract. He has been a key feature for us this summer and was without a doubt one of our standout performers. We held several meetings with him regarding his future with the Proteas throughout the summer and even offered him a two-year contract. To see him cut short a promising international career is disappointing. Ultimately, it was a decision we could not control despite our best efforts."
Olivier will finish with 48 wickets in 10 Tests at an average of 19.25 with best figures of 11/96 in a match.
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