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Kyle Abbott signs Kolpak deal with Hampshire, ends South Africa career

Kyle Abbott has signed a four-year Kolpak deal with Hampshire
Kyle Abbott has signed a four-year Kolpak deal with Hampshire

Kyle Abbott has quit his South Africa career after signing a Kolpak deal with English county cricket club Hampshire.

The 29-year-old's last game for his country was the recently concluded second Test against Sri Lanka in Cape Town where he failed to pick a single wicket.

With the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada being the front-line pacers, Abbott had to warm the bench for most part of his career.

However, injuries to Steyn and Morkel in the Australian tour presented him with an opportunity in Hobart Test and he responded with a nine-wicket haul, powering South Africa to series victory.

Overall, he has played 10 Tests for South Africa and snared 39 wickets including three five-wicket hauls but has been a regular in the limited overs format where he featured in 49 matches and picked 60 wickets spread across two formats.

Abbott said the quota system was taking a toll on his personal life having missed most of the matches due to it.

"February would be four years since my international debut.

"Ever since I played in South Africa, at every level, there has always been a quota system. I have never used it as an excuse and I won't now. I need to pay bills, I need to buy groceries."

The 29-year-old also admitted the decision to sign the Kolpak deal wasn't an easy one.

"It has been one of the hardest decisions I've had to make but it is the right decision for me," Abbott said after the second Test concluded.

"There have been a few evenings where I have gone to sleep wondering if I made the right decision and woken up in the morning knowing I have.

"The last few months , it's about playing with the weight off my shoulders. In the last few months, I have never felt far away from being dropped.

"I've now played thinking if I do, it doesn't matter. I am really enjoying it. If I wasn't committed to South African cricket, I would have done this a long time ago."

Apart from Abbott's four-year deal, South Africa batsman Rillee Rossouw has also signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Hampshire.

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