For South Africa, the Kolpak Story has been a real enigma. The country produces world class cricketers earning the podium at home, but migrating to play county cricket in England as Kolpak players. The exodus of cricketers from South Africa is a real issue and it is hitting hard. Lately, ODI captain of Team South Africa, AB de Villiers endorsed the system as something which cannot be stopped. Thus, if even the captain of the team, who is also the Number 1 ODI batsman expresses his soft side towards the concept of migration to domestic seasons of other nation, it might hit real hard at South Africa.
Sports is at first, a hobby, but when it turns to a profession, it becomes the lifeline and the only earning opportunity for players. Kolpak has been the last resort for several Protease players. Once they join the circuit, it is like bidding goodbye to their national duties. They are not allowed to play alongside the national teams. Kolpak players become officially contracted to county teams of England, which ensure a hefty income for them.
The latest among South African Kolpaks are Stiaan van Zyl and Rory Kleinveldt. Van Zyl posed the Brexit condition as his reason to join English county cricket at haste, as he thought such situation might close the doors for players. The issue is on how South African players conceive their career. Most of them consider the Kolpak route as an ultimate destination in their cricketing career.
Adding some more salt to the injury, AB de Villiers, said nothing can be done about the choice of players. The captain said it is not possible to stop players from going wherever they want to go and play cricket. He said it is a “part and parcel” of recent times. However, he sees the idea of T20 League tournament in South Africa as a measure to stop the exodus. The player thinks it will create incentives for players to stay in the country. South Africa will make it official after the Champions Trophy.
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