Time for another World XI with Twists – Kolpak South African Cricketers Edition.

Huge revelation today – Quinton de Kock bid adieu to Test Cricket at the age of 29 after India brushed them aside in the first Test at Centurion. For more than a decade, South Africa have suffered a loss of talent to England through the Kolpak deal and now they have lost yet another great player, this time to overkill of cricket.

Also Read: Cricket Self-Implodes: Thailand, The ICC, COVID, Racism, Sex, And Overkill of Cricket – Cricket Controversies 2021, End of Cricket as We Know it?

What Has South African Cricket Been Through Recently?

From being the #1 Test side for over a decade to becoming the “team in transition,” things have been far from ideal for South African cricket fans.

AB De Villiers retired from all of cricket, finally quashing the “Will he-Won’t he-Should he Return” debate. Faf du Plessis (retired from Tests to focus on T20I comeback), Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris have been shunted out from national selection due to their T20 leagues commitments. Dale Steyn hung up his boots, while Vernon Philander, Hashim Amla (lack of form) and Morne Morkel (now an Australian citizen) retired prematurely and took Kolpak deals post-retirement. In 2021, the domestic system has been restructured, SJN (Social Justice and briefly Nation Building) report has sparred nobody including Boucher-Smith, and the QDK kneeling controversy has further added to the fuel.

Only the 4/5 wins and positive brand of cricket in the 2021 T20 World Cup was a shining light. That too ended in a traditional disqualification due to net run rate.

However, since Brexit the Kolpak deal no longer holds, and the players are eligible for comeback. Blessing Muzarabani has been a ray of hope for Zimbabwe while David Wiese (ex-South African international) had a stellar T20 World Cup with Namibia. Wayne Parnell became the 1st official Kolpak player to make a comeback while Duanne Olivier is inching closer and closer.

Can Kolpak South African cricketers revive the Proteas ill-fated destiny?

Today’s Twist

Build 2 World XIs:

(1) A current XI of Kolpak South African Exodus players who are eligible for a South African comeback (Note they do not have to be contracted by a domestic team yet. Only that they are not retired and could comeback sometime in the future)

(2) An All-Time Best XI of Kolpak Players (retired)

The Catch

The XI needs to have five bowlers & a wicketkeeper.

*Note this does NOT include the list of players who were born in South Africa and are now settled in different countries representing England, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, Netherlands, USA, etc. Those players are in the list linked below.

South African Cricketers Who Play For Other Countries: Labuschagne, Neil Wagner,…Can you Guess the Rest?

Quantifying South Africa’s Talent Drain

Overall around 69 cricketers have taken up Kolpak deals at some points in their career (49 from South Africa, 6 Zimbabwe, 2 New Zealand, and 12 West Indies – 7 Barbados, 3 Jamaica, 1 Trinidad and Tobago, 1 Guyana).

Additionally, around 39 cricketers were born in South Africa but have represented other countries & left South Africa earlier like Devon Conway and Kevin Pietersen. Then there are some like Dawid Malan (born in England, raised in South Africa, went back to England for international cricket) and Dane Piedt (left for USA but has not played an international for them yet), who are in neither of those lists.

Hence, there are at least 80 high profile cricketers that were from South African origin but did not represent the Proteas for at least some portion of their careers (Remember SA was banned from international cricket due to Apartheid in the 1980s, which was the beginning of the exodus).

Let us add another layer. Due to overkill of cricket, politics, and financial opportunities, AB De Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, and Graeme Smith retired relatively early. Others took up coaching opportunities outside, further weakening the domestic circuit.

*Grant Elliot is a South African born cricketer, who played for New Zealand and later took a Kolpak deal after retiring from New Zealand duty.

What do you think about Kolpak South African cricketers’ comeback? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW!

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Current Kolpak XI Eligible for South African Comeback

From the 49, here are 14 Kolpak South African cricketers who are eligible for an international comeback. Practically, the reserve South African XI disappeared in a decade.

1. Stiaan van Zyl (2016)

  • International Debut: December 16-19, 2014 (101*) International Matches: 12 Tests
  • Age Left: 30 Age Now: 34
  • County Team: Sussex
  • Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Western Province, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland

Claim To Fame

Stiaan van Zyl became the 100th player to score a Test century on debut and yet, he left for England after just 12 Tests.

What did South Africa Miss?

A top order batter who could bowl fast medium, South Africa missed the balance (especially after Kallis’ retirement), reserve depth in batting, and a weaker domestic system without a batter of his caliber.

2. Richard Levi (2014)

  • International Debut: February 6, 2012 International Matches: 13 T20Is
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 33
  • County Team: Northamptonshire (earlier Somerset)
  • T20 Teams: Mumbai Indians
  • Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Western Province, South Africa A, South Africa U-19, South Africa XI
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim To Fame

Fastest T20I hundred (off 45 balls against New Zealand in 2012) at that time. Also had most sixes in a T20I (13) in that innings. Played only 13 T20Is before heading out.

What did South Africa Miss?

A swashbuckling opening batter in limited overs (Think Brendon McCullum-Martin Guptill-Colin Munro esque) who was ahead of his times when the T20 format was in its infancy. Could have been an ideal foil for QDK-Amla at the top in T20Is.

3. Rilee Rossouw (2016)

  • International Debut: August 20, 2014 International Matches: 36 ODIs, 15 T20Is
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Hampshire
  • T20 Teams: Dambulla Giants, Khulna Tigers, Multan Sultans, Quetta Gladiators, Melbourne Renegades, Royal Challengers Bangalore
  • Previous Teams: Free State, Eagles, South Africa A, South Africa U-19
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Knights (T20)

Claim to Fame

After beginning his international career with a series of ducks, he stabilized his spot in the international team with 3 ODI hundreds, 7 fifties and two T20I fifties (here is his 78 vs Australia, where he overshadowed the likes of QDK, Miller, and Duminy).

Played the 2015 ODI World Cup and the 2016 T20 World Cup. Now sought after in T20 leagues around the world.

What did South Africa Miss?

The messiest exit of all and the one that hurt the most. South Africa had heavily invested in Rossouw, and he had become the next big middle order player in the South African line-up, one that would almost certainly replace the great AB De Villiers. Rossouw exited over an iPhone email to coach Russell Domingo and even spelled Domingo’s first name incorrectly. Scored a century in his last ODI (122 vs Australia) and was the player of the series in that series (311 runs). Little did Protea fans know that it was to be his final time in South African colors.

4. Heino Kuhn – WK (2018)

  • International Debut: July 6-9, 2017 International Matches: 4 Tests, 7 T20Is
  • Age Left: 33 Age Now: 37
  • County Team: Kent (Northerns earlier)
  • Previous Teams: Titans, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): North West

Claim To Fame

Overall 11,000 first class runs with 24 hundreds and 58 fifties. Did not light up the international circuit in his short stay, but is a stalwart of South African domestic circuit.

What did South Africa Miss?

Left after CSA conveyed the message to him that his chances at international cricket would be limited. The domestic circuit was further weakened by his exit in his first class prime.

5. Colin Ingram (2014)

  • International Debut: October 8, 2010 Interational Matches: 31 ODIs, 9 T20Is
  • Age Left: Age Now: 36
  • County Team: Glamorgan
  • Previous Teams: Free State, Eastern Province, Warriors, South Africa A
  • T20 Teams: Islamabad United, Trinbago Knight Riders, St. Lucia Zouks, Oval Invincibles, Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Strikers, Delhi Capitals
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim To Fame

With 3 ODI hundreds and 3 fifties in ODIs and a 78 in T20Is, he had a decent limited overs career. However, these days he is known for being the most famous South African T20 export, playing in almost all leagues around the world.

Has played some glittering knocks in the PSL.

What did South Africa Miss?

Stability in the middle order in limited overs cricket. It is clear after 15 years of T20I cricket that boundary percentage, pressure situation experience, and T20 leagues are the backbone of world winning T20I sides. Apart from Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and AB De Villiers, Colin Ingram would have bolstered SA in this regard.

6. Dane Vilas – WK

  • International Debut: March 30, 2012 International Matches: 6 Tests, 1 T20I
  • Age Left: 30 Age Now: 36
  • County Team: Lancashire
  • Previous Teams: South Western Districts, Lions, Cape Cobras, South Africa A, South Africa XI
  • T20 Teams: Lahore Qalandars, Northern Superchargers
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim to Fame

Has scored over 9700 first class runs with 22 centuries. Appeared in the movie Hansie as Allan Donald.

What did South Africa Miss?

SA missed out on a great wicket-keeping substitute. AB De Villiers took the burden as keeper for most of his career. and Quinton de Kock’s entry signaled the end of Vilas’ international career. However South Africa would have liked long-term wicket-keeping reserves just like India had Parthiv Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, Dinesh Karthik, and Rishabh Pant in case of injury to MS Dhoni (or playing alongside for an extended batting order).

7. Hardus Viljoen (2016)

  • International Debut: January 13-15, 2016 International Matches: Only Test
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Derbyshire (Kent earlier)
  • T20 Teams: Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, Peshawari Zalmi, St. Lucia Zouks, Kings XI Punjab
  • Previous Teams: Easterns, Lions, Titans, South African Invitation XI
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland

Claim To Fame

Took Alastair Cook’s wicket first ball of his Test career (only Test).

Also mentioned in Faf du Plessis’ infamous hilarious toss interview.

What did South Africa Miss?

Reserve depth in the medium pace allrounder-finisher slot. After Viljoen, Wiese, & Parnell left, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, and Wiaan Mulder were the only names left. With Morris’ strained relationship with CSA and Phehlukwayo’s loss of form, SA does not have many options anymore. At only 32 and back in SA domestic circuit, there may be an opening for a comeback.

8. Wayne Parnell (2018)

  • International Debut: January 12, 2009 International Matches: 6 Tests, 66 OIs, 40 T20Is
  • Age Left: 28 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Worcestershire (Sussex, Kent earlier)
  • Previous Teams: Cape Cobras, Eastern Province, Warriors, South Africa U-19, South Africa A
  • T20 Teams: Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Barbados Tridents, Pune Warriors, Delhi Daredevils
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Western Province

Claim To Fame

Youngest player to get a CSA contract after his early age/U-19 World Cup heroics, Parnell burst onto the scene around the 2009 T20 World Cup. Good performances lead to a great IPL deal, and Parnell became a rising star.

He played in a couple more World Cups but injuries meant other bowlers jumped ahead in the pecking order. He left for a Kolpak deal but has come back, still only 32.

What did South Africa Miss?

A left-arm seamer for variation. Marco Jansen grabbed eyeballs with his great debut against India, but that is exactly what South Africa have been missing. Among the Steyn-Morkel-Philander-Rabada-Nortje generation, there haven’t been as many left-arm swing bowlers in the last decade for South Africa apart from Parnell (like Boult, Starc, and Shaheen). Good allrounder as well.

9. Simon Harmer (2016)

  • International Debut: Jan 1-5, 2015, International Matches: 5 Tests
  • Age Left: 27 Age Now: 32
  • County Team: Essex
  • Previous Teams: Border, Warriors, Eastern Province, South African Universities, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Titans

Claim To Fame

He is well known for self-acclaimed statement that he is the best-off spinner in the world. With 719 first class wickets and the highest wicket-taker in England first class for the last five years, that may actually be true (along with Nathan Lyon and Ravichandran Ashwin).

He has signed a 5-year contract with Essex as an overseas player till 2026.

What did South Africa Miss?

Although leg spinners were in demand in 2010s (Tahir) and left arm spinners are now at the top of the demand list (Maharaj, Shamsi, Fortuin, Linde), they have been missing a world class off spinner. Aiden Markram’s off-spin can only take you so far…

10. Kyle Abbott (2017)

  • International Debut: Feb 22-24, 2013 (Player of the match), International Matches: 11 Tests, 34 ODIs, 26 T20Is
  • Age Left: 29 Age Now: 34
  • County Team: Hampshire (Middlesex, Worcestershire other teams)
  • T20 Leagues: Pune Warriors, Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Lahore Qalandars
  • Previous Teams: Dolphins, Warriors, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa A
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Boland

Claim To Fame

With Steyn-Morkel-Philander at their peak, Abbott did not get consistent opportunities but made the most of it when he was given a chance, especially in limited overs. The 2015 World cup semi-final broke the backbone of the South African team as an injured Vernon Philander was picked (due to political interference/quota system) over Kyle Abbott, the man in-form. South Africa lost, and slowly began to crumble.

Abbott announced his Kolpak decision after everything had been confirmed (without informing CSA) on the same day as Rilee Rossouw—the ultimate double jolt.

What did South Africa Miss?

South Africa missed a smooth transition between the Steyn-Morkel generation and the Rabada-Ngidi generation. Abbott had been earmarked as the next leader in line but that did not happen. Thankfully, Rabada had a great couple of years and Nortje followed it up with a good partnership.

Abbott is back in SA although he has not yet committed to an international return. His first goal is to get back in form due to the Covid-induced break.

11. Duanne Olivier (2019)

  • International Debut: Jan 12-14, 2017, International Matches: 10 Tests, 2 ODIs
  • Age Left: 26 Age Now: 29
  • County Team: Yorkshire
  • Previous Teams: Free State, Knights, South Africa U-19
  • T20 Teams: Jaffna Stallions, Jozi Stars
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Lions

Claim To Fame

48 Test wickets in 10 matches at an average of 19.25, what a brilliant start to his career. In the second series against Pakistan, he took two 5-fers in a match and went onto take 24 wickets in the series (best haul in a 3-match series since 1902-03), thereby becoming the player of the series.

What did South Africa Miss?

When one door opens, another closes.

Abbott left on January 1st, 2017. Olivier began his journey on January 12th, 2017. It looked like South Africa had found a replacement right away. It worked in their favor for about two short years, before he was picked by Yorkshire. Broken dreams for South African fans again.

12. Marchant de Lange (2017)

  • International Debut: Dec 26-29, 2011, International Matches: 2 Tests, 4 ODIs, 6 T20Is
  • Age Left: 25 Age Now: 31
  • County Team: Glamorgan
  • Previous Teams: Eastern, Free State, Titans, Knights, Pretoria University, South Africa Academy
  • T20 Teams: Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Dambulla Giants, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Team Abu Dhabi, Bengal Tigers, Trent Rockets, Durban Heat
  • SA Domestic Team (Current): Has not played again in SA domestic circuit yet

Claim To Fame

In a bowling attack comprising of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, and Jacques Kallis, de Lange came up with figures of 23.2-3-81-7 in his debut bowling performance.

What did South Africa Miss?

Unfortunately, injuries meant he could never cement a place in the South African squad and hence, took the Kolpak deal in 2017. Still only 31 and the joint highest wicket taker in the Hundred, he could be a dark horse for a comeback.

Squad:

13. Cameron Delport (holds a British passport and signed with Essex – plays T20 leagues around the world)

14. Farhaan Behardien, former South African T20 captain, has signed with Durham (before Brexit so his future is safe with them) but has not played yet due to COVID.

*This does not include Dane Piedt & Juan (Rusty) Theron, who have gone to the United States as an alternate option.

List of All-Time Kolpak South African Players

South Africa Exodus XI

  1. Faf du Plessis (2007, came back again)
  2. Neil McKenzie (2010)
  3. Jacques Rudolph (2007, came back to SA again; later went back to England as an overseas player)
  4. Hashim Amla (2019)
  5. Ashwell Prince (2013)
  6. Justin Kemp (2008)
  7. Andrew Hall (2008)
  8. David Wiese (2017)
  9. Paul Harris (2006, came back again)
  10. Ryan Maclaren (2007, came back to SA again; later came back to England as an overseas player)
  11. Morne Morkel (2018)

First Choice Squad:

12. Alfonso Thomas (2008), 13. Lance Klusener, 14. Shaun Pollock (2008), 15. Nicky Boje (2008), 16. Vernon Philander (signed but cancelled), 17. Charl Langeveldt (2008), 18. Andre Nel (2009)

Squad: 19. Claude Henderson, 20. Greg Smith (2004), 21. Riki Wessels, 22. Charl Willoughby, 23. Martin van Jaarsveld, 24. Zander de Bruyn (2005), 25. Garnett Kruger, 26. Tyron Henderson (2007), 27. Dillon du Preez, 28. Dominic Telo, 29. Friedel de Wet, 30. Johan van der Wath, 31. Nantie Hayward (2008), 32. Johann Myburgh (2011), 33. Gareth Roderick (2012), 34. Alviro Peterson (2015), 35. Daryn Smit – WK (2017)

List of Non-South African Kolpak Players

  1. Dwayne Smith (2008, West Indies – Barbados)
  2. Brendon Taylor – WK/Captain (2015, Zimbabwe, later came back)
  3. Murray Goodwin (2005, Zimbabwe)
  4. Grant Flower (2004, Zimbabwe)
  5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2017, West Indies – Guyana)
  6. Grant Elliot (2017, New Zealand)
  7. Brendan Nash (2013, West Indies – Jamaica, born in Australia)
  8. Wavell Hinds (2008, West Indies – Jamaica)
  9. Kyle Jarvis (2013, Zimbabwe)
  10. Blessing Muzarabani (2018, Zimbabwe, later came back)
  11. Fidel Edwards (2015, West Indies – Barbados, later came back)

Squad:

12. Ravi Rampaul (2016, West Indies – Trinidad & Tobago), 13. Ottis Gibson (2004, West Indies – Barbados), 14. Miguel Cummins (2019, West Indies – Barbados), 15. Tino Best (2017, West Indies – Barbados), 16. Pedro Collins (2007, West Indies – Barbados), 17. Corey Collymore (2008, West Indies – Barbados), 18. Jermaine Lawson (2008, West Indies – Jamaica, later moved to the USA), 19. Andre Adams (2008, New Zealand), 20. Anthony Ireland (2007, Zimbabwe)

What Was the Kolpak Deal?

The Kolpak ruling was named after Maros Kolpak (handball player from Slovakia) by the European Court of Justice. It was submitted on 28 November, 2000 and decided on 8 May, 2003.

County cricket had limited each team to have at most one overseas player. Earlier in 1995, the Bosman ruling had already admitted players from EU (like the Netherlands) to be considered as domestic players. The Kolpak ruling now allowed citizens of other countries with EU Association Agreements to have the same rights to work. Hence, a cricketer from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, or Barbados did not eat up the overseas spots of counties.

However, they had to give up their international career until the Kolpak contract expired.

Why Did Kolpak Deal End?

With Brexit, the UK withdrew from the European Union (effective 31 January, 2020), thereby ceasing the Kolpak deal.

Can Kolpak players play for South Africa?

Yes, Kolpak players can now play for South Africa. They are already able to be picked for domestic South African sides. Wayne Parnell has played his first ODI upon return and Duanne Olivier has been picked in the India Test squad.

Has Kolpak ended?

Yes, Kolpak has ended as of January 31st, 2020, when the United Kingdom officially exited from the European Union.

Why do South African cricketers leave South Africa?

South African cricketers leave South Africa for multiple reasons—financial opportunities, administrative drama, quota system, Apartheid, passport of another country through family citizenship, and decreasing value of the South African Rand (7.81 rands = $1 in Jan 30, 2012 to 18.52 on April 29, 2020).

© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 12/31/2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).

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