Kyle Abbott knows he broke some hearts in early 2017 when he went left the Proteas to take up a Kolpak contract with English county Hampshire.
And he’s also aware that there will be critics who’ll argue he shouldn’t be seen in South African kit ever again.
But – unlike another controversial Kolpak star in Simon Harmer, who’s publicly stated his desire to play for England – the wily 32-year-old seamer is open to resuming his stalled international career.
“I’ve never ruled it out that I’d play cricket again in South Africa,” Abbott, who’s currently one of the Durban Heat’s England-based bolters in the MSL, said on Wednesday.
“But it would have to come from Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) side. It wouldn’t be a decision I make.”
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That’s a bit of an ironic statement to make given that Abbott was very much a key figure in the Proteas’ bowling attack at the time of his shock announcement.
CSA had at the time, not unreasonably, bemoaned how they tried to “atone” for him being controversially left out for 2015’s World Cup semifinal against New Zealand following political interference by granting him more opportunities.
However, Abbott insists he believes he made the right choice to swap country for county.
“You grow a lot in England. You go over there with a lot of responsibility and a lot of expectation. It’s the first time in my career that I’ve been handed a senior player role, not only from a bowling perspective but also as a leader – captaining Hampshire and also being named vice-captain. I’m afforded a lot of input,” he said.
“That’s something I didn’t feel I was going to get in local cricket.”
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It’s also the type of decision that now seems justified as the local cricket struggles to remain competitive in tough economic times as well as deal with indifferent governance at CSA.
Yet Abbott is not going to be drawn into joining the naysayers.
“It’s very hard to comment on a negative vibe here. I’m an outsider at the moment, I can only rely on what I read and everything is negative in the media.
“It normally is, even when the Proteas are doing well.”