Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has accepted fast bowler Duanne Olivier’s decision to halt a burgeoning international career for a Kolpak contract with Yorkshire in English county competition.
Olivier took 48 wickets in 10 Tests between January 2017 and February 2019 before leaving for the United Kingdom.
Du Plessis and Olivier were opponents during a recent County Championship Division One fixture at Headingley in Leeds. The latter bowled the former for a duck in the first innings.
“When Duanne finished with South Africa, he was our man of the series against Sri Lanka. He bowled unbelievably well. But in his mind I think he’d made his decision six months before to come to England,” du Plessis told Kent’s official website.
“He’s in a period of his career where he’s on top of his game, and he would have played a lot for South Africa had he stayed, especially Test cricket.
“He has everything to do well consistently at the top level. I don’t think he needs much more, which is great news for Yorkshire given this is where he is.
“He’s always had the pace and good bumpers. But in his last six months of international cricket, he was changing his grip to get more seam on the ball. That’s going to be very effective for Yorkshire.”
The 27-year-old Olivier is among several South African cricketers on Kolpak contracts in England, including seamer Kyle Abbott, who recently signed an extension with Hampshire. Essex spinner Simon Harmer and Lancashire captain Dane Vilas are others.
“I can definitely understand why he made the decision. There are a few reasons why guys take the Kolpak route from South Africa now. But it’s usually your players who are only playing one or two Tests, those who don’t regularly feature in the team,” added du Plessis.
“Vilas is a good example. It makes sense to come over here and get security. For Duanne, it’s a little bit different. He was at the peak of his own game, having waited for a long time.”