Alviro Petersen, South Africa's Test opening batsman, has defended his decision to turn his back on Glamorgan and recommit to an international career. Petersen said it was "no sin" to want to play for South Africa and that his initial acceptance of a Kolpak deal with Glamorgan with the intention of retiring from international cricket was too hasty.
Glamorgan have expressed their discontent with Petersen's change of heart saying they expected him to return to county cricket even though he had been recalled by South Africa.
Three months after he was dumped from South Africa's Test side in October last year, Petersen was picked again and scored a chanceless century against Sri Lanka at Newlands. The innings sealed his place in the side for the upcoming tour of New Zealand, and probably beyond, and caused him to rethink his future.
"When I was left out of the South Africa side, I engaged with Glamorgan about it and the option to join them was there for me at the time," Petersen said. "But in hindsight, it was probably a bit premature. It's no sin or crime to want to play international cricket and that's my first priority."
Petersen has signed a six-week contract with Essex, where he will play before South Africa's tour of England in July. He expressed satisfaction with the switch of counties because he did not want to jeopardise his international future, something he thinks Glamorgan expected him to do. He denied any plans to follow the Kolpak route in the foreseeable future. His contract with Cricket South Africa has been renewed for the 2012-13 season.
Glamorgan's mood was not lightened when Petersen took to Twitter to defend his change of counties. "Happy that some teammates at Glamorgan have told me that i made the right decision in my career and choice of county," he said.
Petersen's story is not unusual for a South African player who has been snubbed by the system -- Jacques Rudolph, who took Petersen's place in the Test side, also went down the Kolpak route - but it does break the trend of the road to England being travelled exclusively by white players. Petersen is one of the first players of colour, after Charl Langevedlt, to express interest in playing as a domestic player in England after struggling to see a future for himself in South Africa.
Rudolph's prolific form - he was the leading run-scorer in last season's SuperSport Series - caused Petersen to believe that he would fall by the wayside even though his international contract ran until March 2012. Initially, he did, and he was left out of South Africa's series against Australia and the first two Tests against Sri Lanka.
At that time, Petersen held discussions with both Cricket South Africa and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA), a fact confirmed by Tony Irish, SACA's chief executive. "Cricket South Africa and I were in discussions with him about not going that route," Irish said. "We want to retain our players."
In the end it was not talk but action that convinced Petersen to stay. Rudolph failed to light up the international stage in the manner expected and Petersen plugged away on the domestic scene. During his time out of the side, he scored three first-class hundreds, including one against the touring Australians on a spicy pitch in Potchefstroom. He was recalled for the New Year's Test and stamped his authority on the opener's spot.
"We went back to Glamorgan after the Test and said that Alviro wanted to continue playing international cricket," Arthur Turner, Petersen's agent said. "Glamorgan accepted that and we regarded the matter as being closed. He committed to South Africa."
Petersen said that his agent approached Glamorgan about the possibility of him playing as an overseas player but they were unable to accommodate that. "We did offer that I would play as an overseas player and Marcus North would have the Kolpak deal but Australian players can't go Kolpak so it didn't work out," he said.
Glamorgan expressed disappointment with Petersen's change of heart, believing themselves used, with Matthew Mott, their Australian coach, saying: "We feel let down because we had a signed agreement in place, which in my world is binding."
Glamorgan have also shaken up their coaching roles for 2012. Mott has been promoted to head of elite performance in charge of first team affairs with Colin Metson, the former managing director of cricket, taking on a broader role of community and cricket development manager. The operations director, Simon Lee, has been made redundant.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent