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August 31, 2007
The Gauteng and former South Africa fast bowler Garnett Kruger is set to quit South African cricket and sign a long-term Kolpak contract with Leicestershire, after claiming he is disenchanted with the opportunities on offer to black and coloured cricketers in his homeland.
Kruger, 30, played in three ODIs against Australia in January 2006, but has not featured in the international reckoning since. This summer he signed a short-term deal with Leicestershire, the county whom he represented in 2004, and took 13 wickets in four first-class games, including figures of 5 for 62 against Glamorgan.
"I've given up playing for South Africa," Kruger told South Africa's Sports Illustrated website. "I have just completed a two-month Kolpak deal with Leicestershire and will sign an extended contract soon.
"I get treated so much better over there. I've been made so many empty promises in the past that I now need to make the right decisions for my future. I don't want to be a victim of circumstances."
Since the Kolpak ruling took effect, a number of South African cricketers have signed Kolpak contracts with English counties - primarily white players who have become disenchanted by Cricket South Africa's "target" or youth policy. Kruger's decision is therefore surprising, but he claims black and coloured players too have their grievances with CSA.
"They [Cricket South Africa] are not looking after the players of colour properly. We have not been given opportunities. We are included in squads, but then not used. And when we do get opportunities, we are thrown in at the deep end.
"White players are handed opportunities all the time. It is told to us that they are young and need exposure. Why is the same philosophy not used with us?"
In order to qualify for a Kolpak contract a player is required not to have played international cricket 12 months prior to signing the deal. In Kruger's case this is fine as he has not played for South Africa since the tour to Australia in January 2006 - a tour he has few good memories of.
"I was in prime form prior to being selected for the Australia tour and did not play in a single Test even when there so many injured bowlers.
"Everybody looks out for his group of friends. There's a major problem with cliques in the Proteas team. Why do you think Mark Boucher is shouting his mouth off over Jacques Kallis' omission from the Twenty20 squad?"
Kruger was part of a quartet of South Africans on Kolpak contracts this past winter at Leicestershire - the others being HD Ackerman, Claude Henderson and Arno Jacobs. The South Africa swing bowler Charl Langeveldt was also at Grace Road, but as the overseas professional.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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