Hampshire sign season-long Abbott deal

Kyle Abbott was named Man of the Match on debut AFP

Hampshire have signed South African bowler Kyle Abbott as their overseas player for the 2014 season.

Abbot, 26, has played four matches for South Africa across all formats and will arrive at the Ageas Bowl ahead of Hampshire's second County Championship against Gloucestershire on April 13.

Recommended to the club by fellow South African Neil McKenzie, Abbott will be available for the entire season and will hope to help Hampshire to more one-day success and revive their four-day fortunes.

"To have a bowler of Kyle's quality available for the entire 2014 campaign is a huge boost to the squad," Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said. "He comes highly recommended both as a player and a person and we look forward to him joining up with the squad in April."

Durban-based Abbott has an impressive first-class record with 165 wickets at 21.92. He was the top wicket-taker in South Africa's first-class competition last season, with 49 wickets at 15.36, and earned a Test call up against Pakistan in February. His 7 for 29 were the ninth-best figures by a Test debutant. He also played two ODIs and a T20 later in the tour.

Having replaced Jacques Kallis for his Test debut, Abbot has since been on the fringes of the Test XI. But South Africa's limited schedule during the English season - a tour of Zimbabwe that is shrouded in doubt - means Abbott should be available to Hampshire for nearly all of the season.

"It's been a long time ambition of mine to play county cricket," Abbott said. "I have heard great things about Hampshire. I am excited about the opportunity and am grateful that Cricket South Africa has given me permission to play, subject to my Dolphins and South African commitments.

"I look forward to meeting up with the Hampshire team in early April and hopefully I can contribute to some good wins."

Hampshire continued their excellent results in one-day cricket in 2013, reaching T20 Finals Day for the fourth successive year and the Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-final, but they never challenged for promotion in the Championship.

Abbott becomes the second winter signing for Hampshire, following batsmen Joe Gatting and Sean Terry.