Kyle John Abbott
June 18, 1987, Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Kyle Abbott hails from the same area as Lance Klusener - Zululand - and that's not all the two have in common. Abbott followed Klusener as the second-most successful South Africa bowler on debut. His 7 for 29 in the first innings against Pakistan in Centurion in 2013 was a demonstration of speed and swing on a spicy surface.
In short, that is what Abbott is about. A tall, strong quick from Durban, his ability to bowl at pace and generate movement is what got him noticed. He began his career in the 2008-09 season for the Kwa-Zulu Natal provincial side and then represented the Dolphins franchise immediately thereafter.
He was recognised by national selectors when he was picked to play List-A matches against Bangladesh A, but remained on the fringes until 2012, when he was again called up to play 50-over matches against Sri Lanka A.
In the summer that Klusener took over as Dolphins' coach, Abbott's longer-form game developed and he was the leading wicket-taker in the first-class competition in the 2012-13 season with 49 scalps at an average of 15.36. His performances earned him a place in the South African Invitation XI to play the touring Pakistanis and it was against them that he made his Test debut.
Abbott was included in South Africa's squad for the third Test of the series and made his debut after Jacques Kallis suffered a calf injury. He ripped through Pakistan, taking 9 for 68 in the match - the third-best match figures by a South African on debut.
Abbott struggled for a regular Test spot in an attack whose regular quicks included Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, and instead made a name for himself in limited-overs matches, where he accepted the responsibility of bowling at the death. While that did not always guarantee him a place in the side, he traveled with South Africa to the 2015 World Cup and found himself thrust into a bigger role when Philander picked up a hamstring injury.
He played in half of South Africa's six group stage matches and the quarter-final and was their most successful bowler in terms of strike-rate and economy. But he was left out of the semi-final XI in favour of the fit-again Philander, a decision that was later revealed as having been partly politically motivated. He went on to feature more regularly in the ODI and T20 teams and was also part of the side that played in the 2016 World T20.
Later that year, however, frustrated by the lack of certainty over his place, Abbott signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Hampshire to start in 2017. He did not inform Cricket South Africa or his team-mates until he got wind of that the news was going to break during the New Year's Test at Newlands.
By then, Abbott was a first-choice pick in the Test team because of injuries to Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and had played four matches in succession. He was also a preferred option for the one-day side and was being primed to open the bowling at the Champions Trophy.
CSA held urgent talks with Abbott and his agent during the match but could not convince him to change his mind. Abbott confirmed his exit from the international stage after the match. His CSA contract was immediately terminated and he lost his place in the squad for the third Test. Hampshire got themselves an international-class fast bowler with a powerful presence as his 60 Championship wickets at 18.20 in his first season testified.
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