“To see him cut short a promising international career is disappointing. Ultimately, it was a decision we could not control, despite our best efforts,” said Proteas coach Ottis Gibson on Duanne Olivier. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Duanne Olivier was upgraded to a national contract during the current season, and was offered a two-year deal to stay at home, say Cricket South Africa.

The Proteas paceman stunned the local cricket fraternity on Tuesday when English side Yorkshire announced on Tuesday that Olivier has signed a three-year Kolpak contract with the county.

That means he is ineligible for Proteas selection, so he effectively gave up international cricket, having been part of the starting XI in all six Tests this season against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Olivier said in a statement that as difficult as it had been to make such a big call to leave South African cricket, family considerations formed part of his decision to take the plunge.

“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,” he said.

“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make. 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.”

But Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe didn’t hold back in voicing his unhappiness with Olivier.

“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,” Moroe said.

“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 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.”

Indeed, Olivier’s form even led to spinner Keshav Maharaj losing his place in the team at one stage, and contributed to the Proteas choosing just five specialist batsmen and Quinton de Kock at No 6 in some matches.

“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 stand-out performers,” Proteas coach Ottis Gibson said.

“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.”

Cricket SA added that they will name their Proteas men’s and women’s squads for the next year sometime this week.

@ashfakmohamed


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