SA players and English clubs

Neil Manthorp – 29/12/2000

Good news and bad news for a couple of South African cricketers in the last couple of days – financially, at least.

Nicky Boje’s continued run of impressive form in national colours has persuaded English county Leicestershire that the Free State all rounder will simply not be available for enough of the English season to make his appointment worthwhile and have now turned their attention towards “an Australian spinning all rounder,” to quote coach Jack Birkenshaw. Their man, it transpires, is former Aussie ‘keeper Rodney Marsh’s son, Daniel, who also bowls left armers and bats more than useful

The decision is a massive disappointment for Boje whose financial security – let alone cricketing knowledge – could have been hugely boosted by a season in England. To make matters worse, Leicestershire’s decision was literally based on a matter of ten days.

Hansie Cronje’s former county (he played for them in 1995) decided that Boje would give them a significant chance of success in the B&H one-day competition which kicks off the English season. But they needed him for atleast three of the five preliminary matches. He would only have been available for the last one. The extended West Indies tour itinerary thus cost Boje in the region of R600,000.

Better news for another SA cricketer, though, and note that he is described as an “SA cricketer” rather than a “South African cricketer”. Vasbert Drakes has been signed on a one-year contract by that most South African of counties, Warwickshire.

National captain Shaun Pollock is believed to have put his foot down when told by the UCB that he could not return to his (and Allan Donald’s) former county when they offered him a contract just six weeks ago. But Pollock’s hectic schedule persuaded Warwickshire coach Bob Woolmer to convince Pollock that he would be better off returning in 2002 (when SA have an entire winter off) rather than squeezing too much in between April and September this year.

Amazingly, even national physiotherapist Craig Smith came close to landing a lucrative job in England (also with Warwickshire, incidentally) and the shopping list is far from completed.

Nantie Hayward, Mfuneko Ngam, David Terbrugge, Gary Kirsten, Jacques Kallis, Lance Klusener and Makhaya Ntini have all been approached and have either declined or are still considering their offers. When the reality of half a million rand in the bank hits home, it’s not surprising.


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