Kolpaks are fine – Lorgat

South African convener of selectors Haroon Lorgat has said that no attempts will be made to stop South African players signing contracts to play as Kolpak players for English counties.

Since the ruling was passed in 2004 a steady stream of South African players have made the move, including several high-profile ones, the most recent being Jacques Rudolph and Vaughn van Jaarsveld. However, in an interview with Beeld, an Afrikaans daily newspaper, Lorgat said the moves were not necessarily a disadvantage to his team: “If anyone wants to play in England we won’t stand in his way. On the contrary, he can only improve [by playing in England], which could be to the advantage of SA cricket. English conditions provide a good training ground to any player. They are exposed to divergent conditions and play against a variety of opponents.”

After three years’ residence, a player becomes eligible to play for his adopted country; wicketkeeper Nic Pothas recently qualified in this way. Lorgat, however, pointed-out that not all Kolpak players make a one-way trip: “When someone decides to go the Kolpak route, it does not necessarily mean he is lost to South Africa. Take Paul Harris as an example. He went to England as a Kolpak player but when we selected him for our Test team last season he dropped his county like a hot potato to play for South Africa. When a player decides not to play for his own country, it is his choice. That was Claude Henderson’s decision when we approached him before we selected Harris.”

The South African board has also announced it will appoint a manager of players’ affairs. Vintcent van der Bijl is tipped to be offered the position.

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