Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 November 2019

Brexit great news for South African cricket, says captain Faf du Plessis

Batsman believes stricter immigration rules should make more players available for Proteas

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis oversaw a 3-0 drubbing by India in the Test series. AFP
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis oversaw a 3-0 drubbing by India in the Test series. AFP

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said the impending Brexit will have at least one positive impact – improve the cricketing fortunes of his country.

The Proteas have lost numerous top quality players over the years to English cricket. More than 60 players from all over the world have taken advantage of the European Union residency rules since 2003 that allows them to join local county teams without being considered overseas players. However, according to the so-called 'Kolpak' system these players can't represent their home country.

However, tougher immigration controls following Britain's withdrawal from the EU should mean fewer South African cricketers in the county circuit and that in turn should lead to a bigger pool of players for the Proteas to chose from.

If the Brexit deal goes through, the Kolpak system would end by 2021.

Du Plessis made the comments after his team were thrashed by an innings and 202 runs in the third Test in Ranchi. India thus swept the series 3-0 in one of the most one-sided series in recent memory.

Recently, first-choice South African pacers Kyle Abbott and Duanne Olivier gave up international contracts to become Kolpak players in county cricket. Faf highlighted the case of off-spinner Simon Harmer who has been excellent for county side Essex for two seasons but has not played for South Africa since 2015.

"It's sad for South African cricket not to have the option of their best players," du Plessis said.

"Simon Harmer has had an unbelievable season. And it would be great for South Africa to be in a position where they could go [on tours].

"He's done well overseas. Let's bring him on tour with us. So maybe, post-Brexit, guys will still go and play there [in England], but you can still pick them for your country."

The captain said that South Africa are in a rebuilding phase after the retirements of veterans Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla.

"It's a rebuilding phase, so the way forward when you go through real, tough times like this, is you start identifying characters," said du Plessis.

Updated: October 22, 2019 02:52 PM

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