“I accept that my Test career is over for South Africa but if I do well, hopefully in the future, I can play for England,” Olivier told Daily Mail. “You always need to put your mind to certain goals.
“Maybe people will think it’s unrealistic but for me, if I really do well, you never know. I can’t tell you what will happen in the future. All I can do, as of now, is control what I am doing this season and give 100% every game.”
In February, Olivier agreed to a three-year county deal with Yorkshire, subject to clearance through Kolpak regulations. He had also turned down a two-year contract with Cricket South Africa, offered to him as an incentive to continue playing for the national side. While announcing his decision, Olivier stated in an Instagram post that the decision to turn his back on South Africa was “possibly the most difficult … I’ll ever have to make”.
Addressing the criticism around his move, especially him having given up a possible spot in the World Cup squad, Olivier he didn’t personally feel he would be part of South Africa’s World Cup attack, given the already existing variety in the bowling line-up. He also reiterated that the decision to play for Yorkshire had been made keeping in mind his future and that of his family.
“I can understand that people are upset but I have not played a lot of one-day cricket, especially for South Africa or the A side,” he said. “‘I made my ODI debut only this year and, over those couple of games I think they were seeing what I could offer. Personally, I don’t think I would have been in the World Cup squad as they have enough bowlers. I wasn’t looking too far ahead at World Cup spots being up for grabs, it was just taking it day by day.
“For me, it was just the best decision to make. For me and my family, re-locating is the best decision for our future. I realise some people will understand and some people won’t at all but it doesn’t really faze me what they think. At the end of the day, it’s about what I want to do. I want to see things going forward and I feel like my cricket will improve playing county cricket.”
An aggressive fast bowler, Olivier made his Test debut in Johannesburg in January 2017 – ironically as a replacement for Kyle Abbott, who signed a Kolpak deal with Hampshire – and took 48 wickets in ten Tests at an average of 19.25. He featured in two Tests on South Africa’s tour of England in July and August 2017, at Trent Bridge and Old Trafford, and returned to the country in 2018 as an overseas player for Derbyshire.
He had an impressive run in Test cricket over the last two home series for South Africa – in three matches against Pakistan, Olivier took 24 wickets – the most on either side – and followed it up with seven wickets in two Tests against Sri Lanka. Olivier also played two ODIs against Pakistan – his only matches in the format – after being called to the ODI team as a cover for Dale Steyn.
Olivier has prior county experience. In 2018, he turned out for Derbyshire in the County Championship Division 2, taking 31 wickets in seven first-class matches, and 13 wickets in eight List A matches. Yorkshire, who are in Division 1 of the Championship, will begin their campaign against Nottingham on April 5.
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.