Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa pace bowler Duanne Olivier has bid international cricket adieu after signing a three-year Kolpak deal with Yorkshire.
Olivier’s decision to join Yorkshire comes as a huge shock since he enjoyed a superb run with South Africa in their recent series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In the three-Test series against Pakistan, which South Africa won 3-0, Olivier was the highest wicket-taker with 24 wickets at an average of 14.70. As a result of his performance with the ball, Olivier was named Man of the Series.
He followed that up with seven wickets at an average of 25.42 in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, which the Proteas lost 2-0.
“My decision might be difficult for some to understand but being a professional cricket player is a short-lived career and in order for me to make the most of all my opportunities, I had to consider all my options,” Olivier said in a statement on Instagram as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
Olivier admitted that he thoroughly enjoyed his county stint with Derbyshire last year and felt that playing county cricket was the right move for him when weighing his options for the future.
“I came over to the UK last year and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing county cricket,” Olivier told the Yorkshire website. “I have since realised I could happily base myself there for the foreseeable future.
“I was originally looking to come back as an overseas player but when I got a long-term offer from Yorkshire as a Kolpak, I knew that signing for the club would be the best option for both myself and my family. I am a bowler that wants to keep pushing myself to see how far I can go and as I enter my prime I want to be in the best possible situation to grow. Another big reason was the longevity of my career.”
The 26-year-old once again stressed that the decision was an extremely tough one to make.
“I would say I’ve been in good form for the last few years. It has definitely been my most consistent period and I think my stats could attest to that,” he said. “I have definitely enjoyed playing Test cricket. The Pakistan tour was by far my standout tour. I loved every moment of that tour. It’s definitely one I won’t forget.
“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make. It’s giving up playing for my country with no guarantees of playing international cricket again. But at the end of the day, I needed to be true to myself. I’ve only got this one chance to see where my talent can take me and Yorkshire just felt right to me.”
Yorkshire’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon was delighted to have secured the services of Olivier, and said: “We’re delighted that Duanne has agreed to join us. He’s a proven wicket-taker as we’ve seen in the series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka recently. He’s also got genuine pace so he gives us a different dimension within our seam bowling attack. We’re mindful that we’ve got some talented young seamers, but several of them have had injuries so we have to manage them carefully over the next couple of years. It gives us that strength in depth to compete on all fronts.
“To get someone of Duanne’s ability is a huge boost and we’re all looking forward to him joining us. He will meet the lads in Potchefstroom for about six days and the plan is for him to get over here in time for the Leeds-Bradford MCCU game.
“We hope it’s going to be a long-term signing, it’s for an initial three years but we’re hoping it will be for longer than that. As a person in the dressing room, I think he’ll be really strong for us. I think the fact he’s giving up international cricket for South Africa to play here shows his commitment and I think he’ll be a great asset for us.
“He played for Derbyshire and we were impressed with what we saw. We’ve tracked his career in South Africa and obviously he has been selected for the Test team and we’ve seen what he’s capable of in international cricket. He’s an impressive man as well as a cricketer and he’s very ambitious going forwards.”