The Kolpak Effect: Part 1 (Effect on South African Cricket post 2019 World Cup).

We are fully underway in the English County Championship and with Morne Morkel confirmed as the latest Kolpak signing on the county circuit, South African fans have a right to be twitchy about what the future holds for their national team. 

This post may be hypocritical to some as I posted last year saying how good a Kolpak move is for a South African cricketer but that doesn’t take away from some of the issues that it creates for other parties, especially the South African national team.

Though Morkel was the marque Kolpak signing of the winter, Heino Kuhn also joined Kent in the off-season. He joined Kyle Abbott, Dane Vilas, Stiaan van Zyl, David Wiese and Rilee Roussouw (there is more) in becoming Kolpak which meant turning their back on the South African side. Whilst Morkel’s decision comes surely as a financial decision (he averaged 19.60 with the ball in his last series v Australia), the numerous names on there come from a backlash of a ‘quota’ being installed to have a minimum of four coloured players

This is where now we are entering into dangerous territory so I’ll tread lightly, but for one minute, let’s follow Kyle Abbott’s career. Abbott averages 22.71 in Test Matches, 30.91 in ODIs and 22.96 in T20 internationals. It came to a head in the 2015 World Cup when Abbott was averaging 14.44, had 9 wickets from 4 innings and was a dead cert to play in the semi-final, right? Wrong! Vernon Philander recovered from injury and was selected in Abbott’s place, a coloured player replaced a white player to fill the ‘quota’, South Africa went on to lose their semi final to New Zealand by 4 wickets and from that day, Abbott turned his back on South African cricket in very quick time.

Of course, the rules for Kolpak Cricketers are now much stricter. It is part of  a deal called the Cotonou Agreement with the EU where by South Africa are involved. The crux will be when Britain leaves the EU, however this is not a politics blog and I don’t have great knowledge on the matter.

Moving on, it should also be known that this post is not for slating coloured players and Vernon Philander, it is a post to slate the logic behind not picking your best team and losing them to a system which benefits them more. A system that makes them look much weaker than they should be.

I say that whilst fast forwarding to after the 2019 World Cup where the ageing nucleus of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis will all look to move on, Dale Steyn also is not getting any younger and with injuries plighting his career – there is a cloud over his overall fitness. Of course, there are positives in Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock carrying the batting with Kasigo Rabada and Lungi Ngidi holding up the bowling but four players don’t win you matches and it is a worry for South African fan every where to see where this team goes after that 2019 World Cup.

So South Africa, by all means worship your Temba Bavuma’s, Aiden Markram’s and Kasigo Rabada’s but please don’t forget about your Henrich Klaasen’s or your Duane Olivier’s because if you do, they will go somewhere that they will be remembered for a long time…


The Kolpak Effect: Part 1 (Effect on South African Cricket post 2019 World Cup).

du Plessis: One Day gun?

Whilst Virat Kohli racked up another double hundred against Bangladesh, I found it interesting to read a piece on ESPN Cricinfo comparing David Warner and Faf du Plessis.

The piece states that since January 2014, du Plessis has amassed 2621 runs at an average of 58.24 striking the ball at a rate of 90.25. Alongside this, he has amassed 2435 of these runs whilst batting at number three in ODI’s ranking second to New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.

It is easy to look past du Plessis’ credentials as a one day batter. Alas, he made his name as a test match blocker, famously batting 466 minutes and 376 balls in order to save a test match against Australia in Adelaide, 2012. What many people fail to see is the all round game du Plessis possess especially in a one day side featuring Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers as well as the lower order prowess of  David Miller.

Yes, it is a fact that in his first 45 innings as an ODI cricketer, du Plessis did not score a 100 and averaged 27.55 but his last 52 innings have certainly proved him has a proper cricketer and he surely deserves to be ranked among the best in the world in the one day arena.

With their batting coming to the fore this close to the Champions Trophy, all the South Africans need to find is the right bowling formula and they could well cause unexpected problems at this summer’s Champions Trophy. It would be no surprise to see du Plessis near the top of the run charts for this tournament.



du Plessis: One Day gun?


It was interesting to watch the contrast in batting approaches across the international cricket matches on view today.

At one end of the scale we saw England lose eight wickets and score eight runs inside nineteen deliveries too lose the third T20 international by 75 runs. At the other end of the scale we saw Faf du Plessis and David Miller put together a one hundred and seventeen run partnership to propel South Africa from 108-4 too 225-5, which laid the foundation for a total of 307-6.

Although the new brand of one day cricket is to be attacking and exciting at all times and to try and score as many runs as you can whilst taking as little time as possible to get yourself in, the question begs to be asked that has the art of digging in gone away from limited overs cricket?

When an Australia or a New Zealand or even this young, dynamic England side come out all guns blazing and put close to four-hundred on the board in limited overs cricket, it all looks very good for the game. The worrying thing is when it doesn’t come off which has become regular on pitches that should not cause as many problems as they are causing. The application of batting is a lot to be desired across International cricket and to see du Plessis and Miller apply it today was very refreshing.

Of course, there is always a time and a place to play a certain way and no player should ever delve away from their natural game but sometimes it is okay to bide your time in One-Day cricket, and just catch up later. You never know a hundred struck at under a run a ball in a one day innings could still be the innings that wins the game for the team.


A case for Rilee

A lot has been made of the current exodus of Kolpak players from South African cricket – the choice of financially stable option of County Cricket is being heavily criticised by many who believe that International Cricket should come first, no matter the cost. The question is, if you were offered more money to move job? Would you move?

The curious case of Rilee Rossouw is one that came in to harsh criticism, especially from the South African head coach, Russell Domingo, who said South Africa had ‘invested a lot of time in him (Rossouw)’ as well as backing him ‘after five noughts’. Domingo also said that Rossouw was on ‘the fringes of the Test team’ though it is easy to see why this was not enough for Rossouw – a man who averages 44.21 in First Class Cricket.

Even more frustrating for Rossouw is the South African quota system as this surely is the main reason he has not made his Test Match debut yet. Temba Bavuma currently averages less than Rossouw in First Class Cricket (37.88) as well as showing inconsistency within the sixteen tests he has played. Perhaps less of a case is JP Duminy, though throughout every failure, always seems to get a redemption. There is no doubt that without the quota system, Rossouw would be playing Test Match cricket.

Then the case of insecurity that Rossouw must feel among the South African one-day set up, not considered for the Ireland match in late September. Rossouw was called up after an injury to AB de Villiers, he then watched as Bavuma (a man averaging considerably less than Rossouw in one day cricket) tallied up a 113 from 123 at the top of the order.

With that all said, Rossouw was kept on for when the Aussies toured and took his opportunity scoring 311 runs across five matches at an average of 77.75. A performance that would surely cement his place you’d think but Rossouw knew that when de Villiers was fit again, de Villiers would understandably play.

Alongside that, the selection of Rossouw for Hashim Amla caused his own captain, Faf du Plessis, to publicly question the decision which surely is not great to hear from Rossouw’s point of view.

So, as Rossouw will get judged and ridiculed for his decision. Maybe, it is just worth standing in his shoes as a professional cricketer unsure of his place within his national side due to mainly political matters and ask yourself if a County Cricket Club came in and offered you, your wife and child financial stability and a quality of life – would you take it?

A case for Rilee