Faf du Plessis believes Cricket South Africa did everything it could to prevent Duanne Olivier signing a Kolpak contract, but that the financial challenges facing cricket as a whole in this country proved too significant a hurdle for the federation to overcome.
The South Africa captain likened Olivier’s move to Yorkshire with that taken by Kyle Abbott two years ago when he signed with Hampshire, saying he understood why they took up their respective offers, but he was disappointed that they did so.
“Since Kyle and Rilee (Rossouw, who also signed with Hamshire) there has been a lot more communication from Cricket SA’s side with the players behind the scenes,” Du Plessis said yesterday.
“Cricket SA did try and convince Olivier to stay. They offered him a two-year contract and that is as good a commitment as you will see from CSA - they don’t give a lot of two-year contracts - and that showed how serious they were about Duanne and his future.”
Olivier is understood to be earning more than £100000 (about R1.8 million) per year over three years at Yorkshire.
“CSA is trying, but it is a problem that CSA will face, not because of anything it is doing wrong, it’s the challenges that the game is facing on a broader scale; whether that is Kolpak for some players, or the T20 circuit for others,” Du Plessis added.
Both of those avenues provide lucrative returns for players, but Du Plessis agreed with his West Indies counterpart Jason Holder that the loss of players to Kolpak contracts or T20 Leagues would weaken the international game.
Du Plessis drew an example with Australia, which is able to compensate players not to play in the Indian Premier League.
“I’d love to say that for this year’s IPL I want the (South African) bowlers to be pulled back because we are relying heavily on them for the World Cup, but then you have to pay them and with there being such a huge difference between the dollar and the rand, it’s a battle that will be very hard for Cricket SA to fight.
“They have to worry about their own financial problems as well.”
Kagiso Rabada has a contract with the Delhi Capitals that will see him earn just under R8 million for this year’s IPL, while Lungi Ngidi is paid R925000 by the Chennai Super Kings.
They both fall into the category Du Plessis mentioned, with Cricket SA able to do very little to prevent them from playing more than their IPL teams want them to.
Already this season there have been concerns about Rabada’s workload, which will hardly diminish when he heads to India later this month. Stuart Hess@shockerhess