Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Kolpaks welcome back - Graeme Smith

Cricket South Africa Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith announced this morning that South African cricketers who have taken Kolpak contracts would indeed be welcomed back should they choose to return. Smith said in a video press conference,

With Kolpak coming to an end, I guess the willingness is always to have our best players in the system," Smith told reporters via a video conference.
"It is up to the players to come back into the system and to make decisions on their careers.
"From our perspective, we want to encourage all our best players to play here domestically, and then give themselves the opportunity to be selected for the national side."

Great Britain is set to leave the European Union at the end of this year, a move which has the unintended consequence of ending the Kolpak rule. Under the Kolpak rule, players from a country which has agreements with the European Union, like South Africa, are not considered foreign players, a distinction which proves very valuable in the County set up as only one overseas player is allowed per match day XI in county cricket. This rule was adjusted a little in the proceeding years, but for the most part, it still means the same thing. Smith continued,

We don't ever want to exclude players from being part of our system and we understand that the landscape of the world game is very different now to what it was," Smith continued.
"Open minds and how we look at these things is going to be key to how we keep our best players. How we keep them motivated and in our game."

At the moment, there are over a dozen South African cricketers on Kolpak deals in the United Kingdom. Most notable among them being Simon Harmer, who was voted one of the five leading cricketers of 2019 by Wisden and former Protea prodigy Simon Harmer. Having talent at this level will most certainly be a welcome boost as the Proteas attempt to begin their ascent back to supremacy whenever cricket returns.

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