South African cricketers playing in England June 25, 2007

SA board not to stop Kolpak move

Cricinfo staff

"If anyone wants to play in England we won't stand in his way," says Haroon Lorgat, convener of selectors © Getty Images
Haroon Lorgat, the convener of selectors in South Africa, has said that the board won't try to stop any cricketer who opts to sign the Kolpak contract to play in England instead of looking to play for the national team.

Responding to the move by Vaughn van Jaarsveld, a 22-year-old Gauteng batsman, to move to Warwickshire on a two-year contract, Lorgat told Beeld, an Afrikaans language daily: "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."

van Jaarsveld has moved over under a Kolpak contract, which doesn't have a clause to release the player in case he is selected by the country. He will also qualify for an England passport in three years' time, which will then make him eligible to play for England. Lorgat, though, said that the move didn't mean van Jaarsveld will not return to South Africa.

"When someone decides to go the Kolpak route, it does not necessarily mean he is lost to South Africa," Lorgat said. "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."

Meanwhile, the board has also announced that it will soon appoint a full-time manager of players' affairs, to look after the disciplinary issues in the team. The job is being currently handled by Goolam Raja, the team manager, but Vintcent van der Bijl, who is currently with the squad in Ireland, is likely to be offered the position. The team manager will then be in charge of handling the logistics.