Former Kolpak player Kyle Abbott says that a Proteas recall is not in the front of his mind at the moment as he prepares for the One-Day Cup campaign with the Titans.
Abbott is the first former Kolpak player to sign a deal with a South African franchise after the cancellation of their registrations in line with changes brought about by Brexit.
Proteas recall not front of mind
The fast bowler asserted that his immediate focus would be to regain his form and fitness after a prolonged period on the sidelines due to travel restrictions.
“At the moment, [international cricket] is not in my immediate view. I had a very tough 2020 not playing cricket. I need to get back into the space where I was 18 or 15 months ago,” Abbott told ESPN Cricinfo.
“My objective is to get back playing professionally and get back to the level that I was, which is proving to be quite difficult at the moment. The body has had rest but it’s been quite difficult getting back to that competitive edge.”
Abbott hasn’t played a professional game since the end of the 2019 Mzansi Super League and says that the layoff, while initially welcomed, sapped him of motivation and effected his fitness and mental health.
“For the first couple of months, I was quite happy,” he said. “I was enjoying the time off and not feeling guilty that I wasn’t playing anywhere or training or bowling. That was quite nice but then as soon as it got close to when they started to kick off in the UK, I started to itch a little bit and miss it a little bit.
“I found myself at stages unmotivated where I would sit for days and think, ‘why must I gym? Why must I run? I can’t see an end.’ I think a lot of us went through that.”
Abbott keen to give back
As a senior professional at the Titans, Abbott says he is keen to repay his debt to South African cricket, at least in part.
“I feel like I still owe a lot to South African cricket,” he said. “I am pretty happy and excited to impart some knowledge back to the system and see South African cricket stay strong.”
He says that his decision to go the Kolpak route was not motivated by anything other than furthering his career and doing what was best for his family.
“It’s an emotional thing. It’s a patriotic thing. But for most of us, myself definitely, it’s purely a career decision that I had to make at the time. I don’t regret anything I ever did,” he added.