Hampshire have signed South Africa internationals Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw on long-term Kolpak contracts.
Fast bowler Abbott quit international cricket on Thursday as South Africa sent Sri Lanka crashing to a 282-run defeat at Newlands, giving the hosts a winning 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.
Abbott confirmed he has signed a four-year contract with Hampshire, who have also signed his South Africa team-mate Rossouw on a three-year Kolpak deal.
“It is one of hardest decisions I have had to make in my life,” 29-year-old Abbott said. “I leave with more than a little sadness knowing that I won’t represent the Proteas again.
“Representing my country was undoubtedly the biggest honour in my career and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have represented South Africa and the Proteas.”
He took 99 wickets for his country across all formats in 59 matches.
Left-hander Rossouw has played 51 limited-overs matches for the Proteas, scoring over 1,500 runs, including a brilliant 122 in his last appearance against Australia in October. Left-hander Rossouw, 27, said: “Deciding to leave South Africa is something I have thought long and hard about and moving to England will give me and my family the long-term career security that I believe is important at this stage of my life.
“I have loved representing the Proteas and will watch from afar with great affection every time they take the field from now on but I am hugely dedicated to making Hampshire cricket successful on the field.”
Cricket South Africa says the decision of Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw to quit international cricket and take up Kolpak contracts with Hampshire is “a sad day for cricket”.
CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the decisions meant it was “a disappointing day not just for South African cricket but also for international cricket”.
“Regrettably we have no option but to severe our ties with both Abbott and Rossouw as they are no longer available for South Africa,” said Lorgat. —Skysports