South Africa’s most recent sensation Duanne Olivier may well have played his last International match after signing a three-year deal with county side Yorkshire, pending clearance of Kolpak regulations.
Olivier is set to join new team-mate at Potchefstroom early in March, has decided to call it a day on his promising but short International career. In 10 Tests he has played, he scalped 48 wickets at a sublime average of 19.25.
He had also made his one-day international debut last year and took three wickets in two ODIs, but he admitted a trip to the United Kingdom last year had helped make up his mind when Yorkshire came calling.
“I came over to the UK last year and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing county cricket,” he was quoted as saying by Yorkshire. “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.”
Olivier, however, admitted leaving a promising Test career – he took 24 wickets in the series against Pakistan and rose to No.19 in the ICC Test Rankings behind was a difficult decision to make.
“I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” he added. “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.
“I can be whatever type of bowler the team needs me to be. There is a lot of stigma around the fact that people think I can only bowl short balls, because that is what I’ve done in Test matches. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. If my team has asked me to bowl short, that’s what I’ll do.
“I will fill the enforcer role if needed, and sometimes the team will need me to be a back-up where my job is to tire out and frustrate the batsmen so that another strike-bowler may come and take the wicket. I think my strength lies in my flexibility to fill whatever role is required of me. I do like to be the guy the captain goes to when things get tough. And I prefer bowling longer spells.”
As for Yorkshire, Olivier’s signing represents a big coup. They had to “beat off competition from a number of other counties” and Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, said it was a “huge boost” for the county.
“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 said. “He’s also got genuine pace so he gives us a different dimension within our seam bowling attack.
“To get someone of Duanne’s ability is a huge boost and we’re all looking forward to him joining us. 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.”