Sport / Cricket

Sport Staff
2 minute read
6 Feb 2017
9:51 am

I’m not a traitor, says Kyle Abbott

Sport Staff

The former Proteas fast bowler, who retired from internationals last month, reveals he thought about doing so two years ago but stayed on.

Kyle Abbott maintains transformation didn't force him to quit international cricket. Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images.

Kyle Abbott once again reiterated transformation was not behind his decision to ditch the Proteas for a Kolpak contract.

The 29-year-old seamer made headlines last month when he announced his decision to retire from international cricket, shortly after the second Test against Sri Lanka at Newlands.

Also read: Russell Domingo: We weren’t even allowed to pitch to Kyle

In a candid interview with East Coast Radio, Abbott, however, finally admitted for the first time he almost called it quits after the selection fiasco in the 2015 World Cup.

Abbott, South Africa’s best seamer in that tournament, was controversially dropped for Vernon Philander before the semifinal against New Zealand after administrative interference.

“I was very close to walking away after the 2015 World Cup and even a year later,” he said.

“But I gave it another year because I wanted to play.”

The man from Empangeni finally seemed to break into the Test squad late last year but by then had already signed his three-year deal with Hampshire.

Abbott feels his decision to stay on for another 18 months after the 2015 showpiece proves he’s no “traitor”.

“You can understand the emotions I went through then and having the opportunity to leave, then and there. But I said ‘I can’t’,” he said.

“That, I felt, would have been me being a traitor and turning my back. But I’ve given it another two years since then.”

Instead, Abbott insists his decision to leave is based on the outlook that he would still only be selected if someone else were injured.

“It’s been a tough four years. Things never ran smoothly. A seed was planted early after I made my debut and it took me 11 months to get back into a squad,” he said.

“That was four years ago and I’ve played 12 Test matches. I’m not saying I deserved to play 50 in those four years, but even in ODIs and T20s I haven’t even got to 30 in either of those.

“I’m going to be 30 this year and I can’t see how any of this is going to change.”

Also read: Kyle Abbott: I didn’t quit because of transformation

Abbott also has a strong message for transformation naysayers – South African cricket has accepted it.

“It’s the way things are going and I think South Africa has embraced it now because we’ve actually come out now and said what we are doing,” he said.

“There is nowhere to hide. In the past there were times when decisions were made and guys were asking ‘Is it because of this?’ and nobody could answer. Now we’re saying ‘These are the rules’ and I think everybody is at peace with that.”

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