'It's dangerous for our game' June 2, 2008

Giles slams 'serious' Kolpak situation

Cricinfo staff

Ashley Giles, Warwickshire's director of coaching and one of the national selectors, has slammed counties who increasingly lean on Kolpak signings to boost their squads.

"We've got a serious problem and it will only get worse," Giles told the Daily Mail. "I was aware of it before but it's become more obvious to me since taking this coaching job. We've let this situation creep up on us so that it has reached ridiculous proportions.

"As an England selector, I sometimes think: 'Who am I supposed to be looking at here?' It's dangerous for our game and I think it has gone too far already. It has to be pulled back, but how we do that, I just don't know.

"This is a responsibility that lies with the counties, who should produce players who can play Test cricket for England. They get handouts from the ECB and that's what they should be doing.

"Signing Kolpak players is like easy shopping, internet shopping. Instead of getting out there and doing the hard yards trying to find what you're looking for, you can just have it delivered to your door."

"I don't think a lot of these clubs are prepared to do anything about this. They're interested only in their individual success."

Giles said that while the pressure was on Warwickshire to go down the same route, for now he was keen to resist that temptation. "In our last couple of Warwickshire games, we have played a fully-qualified side of 11 English players. In the short term, having so many Kolpak players around will raise standards, but in the long term it will severely reduce the pool of talent available to England."

But Giles' comments did not go down well with David Smith, Leicestershire's chairman. "Yet again I have to question the hypocrisy of Ashley Giles. and his comments," he told Cricinfo. "Warwickshire have Trott ,Botha, Groenewald, Zondenki, Carter, all born in South Africa, Ambrose born in Australia and a South African coach in Donald.

"I would suggest Ashley focuses on the huge job he has to do at Warwickshire rather that tell other counties how to run their businesses and the make of their staffs."