Hampshire: Kyle Abbott & Rilee Rossouw content with Kolpak move decisions

Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw in action for South Africa
Kyle Abbott (left) and Rilee Rossouw (right) will both hope to impress in Hampshire colours this season

Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw say they have no regrets over their decision to stop playing for South Africa and sign Kolpak deals with Hampshire.

Seamer Abbott, 29, and top-order batsman Rossouw, 27, confirmed their international retirements in January.

Rossouw, in his first season in county cricket, refused to say if his hand had been forced by Cricket South Africa.

"Maybe, maybe not," he told BBC Sport. "I think that story is one I'm going to tell at a different time."

Kolpak contracts allow sportsmen from countries with associate trade agreements with the European Union to be afforded the same right to free movement as EU citizens.

They are not classed as overseas players under the terms of their contracts, but they become ineligible to represent their country at international level.

Rilee Rossouw in action for South Africa
Rilee Rossouw made 51 limited-overs appearances for South Africa, but did not win a Test cap

'100% clean cut' decision

Abbott and Rossouw's decisions came before Britain's exit from the European Union and they are among several South Africans to make the switch ahead of the new domestic season.

Among the others, all-rounder Simon Harmer has joined Essex,Stiaan van Zyl and David Wiese have moved to Sussex and fast bowler Hardus Viljoen will line up for Derbyshire.

"Right now, I'm just going to enjoy life here in England," Rossouw said, as he prepares to start a three-year contract with Hampshire.

"I'm enthusiastic about the season. I'm 100% clean cut on my decision and I don't think that's going to change any time soon.

"Right now, my home is in England and I want to be here beyond the next three years for Hampshire."

Media playback is not supported on this device

Kyle Abbott looks ahead to Hampshire return

Hampshire 'always felt like home'

For Abbott, a four-year deal marks a return to the county he last played for as an overseas signing in 2014.

"I made a lot of friends here during my last spell and it just felt like the right place for me," the right-arm pace bowler said.

Abbott broke down in tears when he announced his international retirement after helping South Africa to a home series win against Sri Lanka, but said at Hampshire's pre-season media day that he had come to terms with his reasons for doing so long before it was confirmed.

"I've been comfortable for a long time to be honest," he added. "I've always felt like Hampshire was a home for me. It was a pretty easy transition across here."

Abbott and Rossouw will hope to make immediate impressions for Hampshire when they begin their County Championship Division One campaign against Yorkshire on 7 April.

Top Stories