Let’s get one thing straight: Duanne Olivier doesn’t deserve to be vilified for becoming the latest Protea to go the Kolpak route.
Even if you don’t agree with him, his reasons are clear.
The working life of a professional sportsman is short and given that it’s your livelihood, it’s logical to try and gain as much financial security as possible.
Olivier made an extremely tough decision and he’s sticking to it.
Good on him.
Whether the national setup will miss him is a question I, personally, feel is easy to answer. No.
Olivier is not a loss of the magnitude of Kyle Abbott at the start of 2017.
Abbott had a proven pedigree at international level.
He took 7/29 on Test debut.
He bowled South Africa to a Test series victory over Australia in Hobart in late 2016.
He was the Proteas’ best seamer at the 2015 World Cup.
He was a fixture in ALL formats and combined his pace with swing.
Olivier is not the same.
A record of 48 victims in just 10 Tests looks extremely impressive.
The thing one should savour from Olivier’s short international career is how he made a hot streak count this season.
The 26-year-old was good in the Mzansi Super League and, recalled to the Test squad for the series against Pakistan, made proper use of the last-minute injury to Vernon Philander.
Twenty-four scalps in three Tests illustrate vividly how brilliantly he rode the wave of his form.
In a nutshell, he exploited a sub-continent side’s insecurities against high pace bowling.
It’s also important to note that Olivier’s record is skewed.
Forty-one of his 48 Test wickets came against three sub-continental teams – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In two Tests against England in 2017, he took seven at almost 28 at an economy rate over five.
Even this season there was evidence that when Olivier starts to lose control, he struggles to claw things back.
He went for over five an over at Newlands, almost five at the Wanderers against Pakistan and over six in Durban against Sri Lanka. That points to one-dimensionality.
Don’t forget the emergence of Lutho Sipamla and Anrich Nortje.
Olivier is right – the guarantees of international cricket are small.