Abbott and Rossouw turn backs on Proteas to join Hampshire
Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw have turned their backs on South Africa to sign Kolpak contracts with Hampshire.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed after the Proteas sealed a Test series victory over Sri Lanka on Thursday that paceman Abbott's national contract has been terminated by mutual consent.
The 29-year-old paceman has penned a four-year deal with Hampshire, while 27-year-old batsman Rossouw has signed a three-year deal with the county to seemingly bring their international careers to an end.
Abbott told the media after the Proteas' 282-run win at Newlands: "I signed this deal while I was with Worcester last season, so it's been I think five months.
"Everything has gone pretty much to plan playing for South Africa in the last couple of months, so there have been a few evenings where I've gone to sleep thinking if I've made the right decision, but I've always woken up the next morning thinking actually I have.
"I've had a great run with Cricket South Africa, I've no regrets at all. I've been involved in some unbelievable games and series', but I feel it's a time in my life where I need to make a career decision.
"I'm going to be 30 this year and I think this is the right one for me."
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement: "Regrettably we have no option but to sever our ties with both Abbott and Rossouw as they are no longer available for South Africa.
"It is a disappointing day not just for South African cricket but also for international cricket as these players have given up their opportunity to be seen in action on the international circuit.
"From CSA's perspective it is a loss as we invest immeasurable amounts which include premium time, finance, technical, high performance coaching followed by development tours and providing general player welfare over a long period of time.
"By way of example, Rilee has spent a lengthy period on the injury list while we spared no expense in providing him with the best medical support.
"Both Rilee and Kyle have been given opportunities over the past year to play at the highest level and were firmly in our plans for the future.
"We have encouraged Rilee and Kyle to reconsider their decisions but both have indicated that they wish to take up Kolpak contracts. Whilst this is a loss for South African cricket we can only wish them well with their overseas careers.
"We will continue to invest heavily in our local talent and provide opportunities for those individuals who wish to realise their dream of playing for their country; we will not contract players who do not commit to play for South Africa."
Abbott has played 10 Tests for South Africa, taking 39 wickets at an average of 21.30. He has also claimed 34 wickets in 28 one-day internationals and picked up 26 from 21 Twenty internationals.
Rossouw scored three ODI centuries in 36 appearances, averaging 38.71, and was selected for 15 T20s.