Former South African player Jonty Rhodes has revealed how South African cricket is affected by Kolpak deal. We have often seen that the Proteas players have preferred money over the country as they have gone on to sign Kolpak deals. Rhodes, who is regarded as one of the best fielders of all time, said that the biggest impact is the loss of the experience.

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After playing in the domestic circuit of South African cricket, players gain their experience. However, when the same players then go on to sign the Kolpak deals, it a huge loss for the South African cricket.

Jonty Rhodes
Jonty Rhodes. Photo: BCCI

Kolpak deals have had a negative impact on South African cricket.

Meanwhile, former South African skipper Shaun Pollock had also recently criticized the players who go for the Kolpak deal. Pollock had said that sports has become a business now.

South Africa have lost players like Kyle Abbott and Duanne Olivier to Kolpak deals. In fact, Duanne Olivier went on to choose Kolpak after playing only 10 Test matches for South Africa. The Rainbow nation has had maximum players who have gone for Kolpak since 2004.

On the other hand, it should also be noted that the players get better salaries while playing in England as compared to South Africa. Thus, they choose to play in England rather than for their own country.

“It’s not just the senior players who are leaving at the peak of their careers to play in the UK. We also have young players leaving South Africa at an early age and then going on to play for Australia or England”.

“Kevin Pietersen was only playing first-class cricket. He was in and out of the state team. And hats off to him. He went and made a career for himself. So a lot of players have gone at an early age. You can’t really say we have lost them to the system”.

“I think the sad part is that when senior players take the Kolpak route, you lose the experience that they offer at the state level,”  Jonty Rhodes said while talking to New Indian Express in an exclusive interview.

Rhodes gave an example of how experienced players help the younger ones to grow in confidence.  The former right-handed batsman stated that when a prodigy like Shreyas Iyer bats with someone like Virat Kohli, it is huge for the former.

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Kevin Pietersen, Duanne Olivier, Kolpak Deal
Duanne Olivier. (Credits: Getty)

The young players miss the opportunity to play with an experienced player.

As young cricket players, when you are batting with somebody in a game, like Shreyas Iyer batting with Virat Kohli, it’s incredible what it does for your confidence. It allows you to play with way more freedom. So I think when South African cricket loses experienced players to Kolpak, it holds back the advancement of younger players in-state teams a little bit.

So from that perspective, it has affected us. But again, we have a pool of players, we have a good school system in South Africa still producing great cricket players. Now it’s a matter of retaining them throughout the system, from academy level to state level.

It has been a sad story for South African cricket as they have lost out on the services of good players due to the Kolpak deal. South Africa will play the second Test match against India from October 10 at Pune.