Cricketer Duanne Olivier, who recently turned his back on South African cricket, to sign a deal with Yorkshire, has risked further ill-feeling in his homeland, by stating that he would also like to represent England.
The 26-year-old, who was born in Globlersdal, in the Transvaal Province, South Africa, represented Derbyshire last season. His success there, including 31 wickets in seven matches, led to an international recall, by South Africa, for the series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
He enjoyed further success with the national test side, with 31 wickets in five matches. However, he then chose to dismiss the offer of a two-year central contract from South Africa, in favour of the opportunity to play for Yorkshire.
A primary motivator in this move appears to be the money, as he will receive a salary thought to be approaching £150k per year, approximately 3 times as much as that offered to ply his trade at home. According to the Daily Mail, he stated that: 'every person needs security’.
His signing for England’s most successful county cricket side, in February, may not have surprised too many, as the 33-time County Champions had been chasing him since November. However, it is his desire to pull on the national jersey that will raise a few angry eyebrows back home.
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He is the not the first of his countrymen, to leave South Africa for a Kolpak contract in England, with 42 having trod the same path. However, he is the first to do so in the midst of an international Test career, with the desire to play for England.
Under the Kolpak ruling players from countries with deals with the EU can play cricket in any EU country without being considered an overseas player. This stretches to South Africa, as they are eligible under the ‘Cotonou agreement’.
Furthermore, he can now go on to represent the Three Lions if he secures citizenship, a path chosen by compatriot Wayne Madsen, four years ago. Cricket differs from football in this respect where, once the national side has been represented in a competitive game, a player cannot switch to another nation.
Speaking about his plans, Olivier told the Daily Mail: "I accept that my Test career is over for South Africa but if I do well, hopefully in the future, I can play for England. You always need to put your mind to certain goals.
"Maybe people will think it's unrealistic but for me, if I really do well, you never know. I can't tell you what will happen in the future. All I can do, as of now, is control what I am doing this season and give 100 per cent every game.
"I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and if you just concentrate on doing well that will take care of itself. I don't think too far ahead. Yes, it will be a goal to play for England one day and it would be amazing but for now my pure focus is on Yorkshire and just doing well for them.’
He added that his lack of confidence regarding his place in the South African side being secure also played a factor in his thinking.
"I can understand that people are upset but I have not played a lot of one-day cricket, especially for South Africa or the A-side," the 27-year-old added.
"I made my ODI debut only this year and, over those couple of games I think they were seeing what I could offer. Personally, I don't think I would have been in the World Cup squad as they have enough bowlers.
"I wasn't looking too far ahead at World Cup spots being up for grabs, it was just taking it day by day. I thought about everything and while sitting down with my wife we discussed what were the pros and cons.
"This was not about looking back and allowing external factors to influence us. It is what my wife and I feel and what we want to achieve going forward.
"For me, it was just the best decision to make. For me and my family, re-locating is the best decision for our future. I realise some people will understand and some people won't at all but it doesn't really faze me what they think. At the end of the day, it's about what I want to do. I want to see things going forward and I feel like my cricket will improve playing county cricket."
The fast-bowler also admitted he had been struggling while playing for the national side and had only started to enjoy his cricket and feel comfortable while playing for Derbyshire.
"I was enjoying my cricket again. During the Test series in England in 2017, especially the second game at Trent Bridge, things were a struggle. Then, the game at Old Trafford, the more I bowled the better it got but I was still just finding my feet.
"There was a couple of months where I wasn't in tip and I used the platform Derbyshire provided to enjoy every moment and not think about things too much."
Whatever the future holds and whether he successfully makes the transition to the English national side, Olivier must put the controversy and the ire of his countrymen behind him and focus on his cricket, dismissing them in the same way that he does batsmen.