Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Kyle Abbott has revealed that he came close to quitting international cricket during the 2015 World Cup.
Abbott was South Africa’s most economical bowler in the tournament and had taken nine wickets in four matches at an average of 14.40 leading up to the Proteas’ semi-final clash with New Zealand.
Despite his success, Abbott was dropped for the semi-final as South Africa selected fellow seamer Vernon Philander ahead of him.
The decision was met with a lot of criticism, especially as Philander had missed the quarter-final against Sri Lanka due an injury.
After the World Cup, Abbott was unable to secure a permanent spot in South Africa’s squad across all three formats and even though he had recently made a strong case for himself in Test cricket with a string of impressive performances, he ultimately decided to end his international career and sign a Kolpak deal with Hampshire last month.
“I was very close to walking away after the 2015 World Cup and even a year later,” Abbott told Durban’s East Coast Radio. “But I gave it another year because I wanted to play.
“I felt that that would be turning my back (on South Africa) where now suddenly it would be sour grapes that I was dropped for the semi-final.
“You can understand the emotions I went through then and having the opportunity to leave, then and there, and I said ‘I can’t’. That, I felt, would have been me being a traitor and turning my back. But I’ve given it another two years since then. I’ve averaged 40% of the games for South Africa over four years.
“I’ve got no regrets. I needed the two years after the World Cup to do stuff and tick a few boxes.”
When asked if South Africa’s racial quota system was to blame for the fact that he failed to cement his place in the national team in all three formats, the 29-year-old said: “Absolutely not. From when I started playing cricket…although they weren’t official, there were targets. I’ve never used that as an excuse.
“It’s the way things are going and I think South Africa has embraced it now because we’ve actually come out now and said what we are doing.
“There is nowhere to hide. In the past there were times when decisions were made and guys were asking ‘Is it because of this?’ and nobody could answer. Now we’re saying ‘These are the rules’ and I think everybody is at peace with that.”
While Abbott doesn’t see himself as a traitor for his decision to join Hampshire, the Empangeni native understands if some people have a differing view since he chose his career over playing for his country.
“It’s been a tough four years. Things never ran smoothly. A seed was planted early after I made my debut and it took me 11 months to get back into a squad,” he said. “That was four years ago and I’ve played 12 Test matches. I’m not saying I deserved to play 50 in those four years, but even in ODIs and T20s I haven’t even got to 30 in either of those.
“I’m going to be 30 this year and I can’t see how any of this is going to change.”