It has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make but it is the right decision for me. There have been a few evenings where I have gone to sleep wondering if I made the right decision and woken up in the morning knowing I have. The last few months [since I made the decision], it’s about playing with the weight off my shoulders. In the last few months, I have never felt far away from being dropped. I’ve now played thinking if I do, it doesn’t matter. I am really enjoying it. If I wasn’t committed to South African cricket, I would have done this a long time ago – Kyle Abbott.
Proteas quickster Kyle Abbott came out with a surprising decision to retire from international cricket by committing to play county cricket in England through a Kolpak deal with Hampshire earlier this week. Cricket South Africa immediately terminated Abbott’s contract and he will no longer represent the country in all formats of the game.
The South African cricket board conducted an extended meeting with Abbott’s agent Weber van Wyk but the two parties failed to derive a positive outcome. South African batsman Rilee Rossouw will also be joining Abbott in Hampshire, also on a Kolpak deal.
Kyle Abbott made his final international appearance for South Africa in the recently concluded Test against Sri Lanka. He played in the two tests over Wayne Parnell and in place of injured quickster Dale Steyn. Abbott was in tears as he announced his retirement on his whites. His final victim was the Sri Lankan all-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva.
South Africa respected his decision to quit but stood firmly against it. They tried persuading him to stay but he was confident on what he wanted to do.
“That was not the way we wanted. It was something that we didn’t expect and it was out of our control. We did get together and spoke to Kyle and tried to change his mind. Kyle had already set up what he wanted to do. Then it was just about me making sure the boys were focused on the job at hand. The boys were brilliant. Even Kyle. He wanted to make sure everything was about the team. I’m a little bit upset that Kyle couldn’t get one or two wickets. I would have liked to see him do well in his last outing,” said Proteas captain Faf Du Plessis.
Born in KwaZulu-Natal on the 18th of June 1987, Kyle John Abbott started his career in the 2008-09 season for the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial side and then represented the Dolphins franchise immediately thereafter. He represented South Africa Invitation X1 and played List A cricket before making his debut against Pakistan in February 2013. He made his one day international and twenty20 debut in the same year.
He played 11 Tests, 28 one day internationals and 21 twenty20 internationals during his time with South Africa. He bagged 39, 34 and 26 wickets respectively.
Kyle Abbott’s retirement from South Africa Cricket will also terminate his links with the Indian Premier League. However, he will be allowed to play in leagues elsewhere.
“It’s not far off what I’d be earning in South Africa but I’ve got an incredibly good relationship with Hampshire. I hope if I show them commitment over the next four years, it will help me with setting up a life after cricket also. The IPL is a major part of a player’s income but I don’t see it as the end of the world because other times during the year, when international players aren’t available, I will be becoming available for other tournaments. I don’t see the IPL as the be-all-and-end-all at the moment,” he concluded.
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