Kyle Abbott misses 2020 season amid travel difficulties

Hampshire seamer will return as overseas player in 2021

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Kyle Abbott will not play for Hampshire this season  •  Getty Images

Kyle Abbott will not play for Hampshire this season  •  Getty Images

Hampshire have confirmed that Kyle Abbott will not play for the club in 2020, but will return next year as an overseas player.
Abbott, who played 11 Tests for South Africa between 2013 and 2017, has been at home in KwaZulu-Natal throughout lockdown, and with the Covid-19 pandemic restricting international travel and causing visa difficulties, he agreed with the club that he would miss the curtailed county season, which began last week.
Abbott signed for Hampshire on a Kolpak deal in 2017, and agreed a new three-year contract last year. This included a clause that meant he would become an overseas player after the UK's transition period with the European Union ends on December 31, one of two permitted in all formats next season.
"The window for Kyle's return to the UK has narrowed significantly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the difficulties with visa delays and quarantine restrictions that have followed subsequently," Giles White, Hampshire's director of cricket, said.
"We've had excellent dialogue with Kyle throughout this period, and with everything considered, we all felt the best course of action was for him to remain in South Africa in readiness for the 2021 season."
Abbott is the second Kolpak player to confirm he will not be playing for Hampshire this season, after Fidel Edwards last week. Brad Wheal, the young Scotland seamer, is also unavailable as he is not in the country.
Several counties were without their Kolpak players during the first round of Bob Willis Trophy fixtures. Surrey remain hopeful that it will be possible for Morne Morkel to come over from Australia at some stage this season, but Hashim Amla is unlikely to feature. Yorkshire have confirmed that Duanne Olivier will be available for their second game of the season.
Durham are optimistic about the chances of Farhaan Behardien, who signed a Kolpak deal with the club in January, being available at some stage this season, though his arrival has been held up by visa difficulties.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98