James Morgan gives his take on the entire Kolpak issue and provides the reader with an insight on its implications on English cricket. He gives a very unbiased view on the positives and negatives surrounding the choices that players make in shifting focus from the national team to county cricket.
For starters let me make my own position on Kolpak players clear: I’m utterly conflicted. Like most England cricket fans I can see the benefits of South Africans moving to the UK – where would we have been without the likes Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott over the years? – but I do feel slightly uncomfortable when former internationals move to counties without any intention (or possibility) of playing for England.
What’s more, I have some sympathy if the player in question isn’t being selected for South Africa (or hasn’t been selected as much as he should) because of his skin colour. A career as a professional cricketer can be very short; so it makes financial sense to cash in when one can. As a large number of Kolpak players have families to support, it seems unfair to criticise people for looking after their nearest and dearest.
When I first heard that Hants had signed a South African opener, I assumed he would be a squad fodder. I didn’t immediately recognise his name (sorry Rilee!) but a bit of digging soon put me right. Rossouw is actually a highly promising player. He’s 27 years old, has a first class average of 44 with eighteen hundreds, and he’s averaged 39 in over thirty ODIs. He’s also a more than handy T20 player.
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