What’s the story?
Marchant de Lange has become the latest South African international to choose county cricket over playing for his country after the 26-year-old fast bowler signed a long-term deal with Glamorgan. Unlike several South African players such as David Wiese and Kyle Abbott who joined as Kolpaks, De Lange has registered as a local player courtesy of the fact that his wife has a British passport.
To qualify as a Kolpak, the player has to have played one Test of 15 limited-overs games in the 24 months prior to their signing and during this period, De Lange has played just one ODI (February 2016) and one T20I (October 2015) and thus he will be registered as a local player pending the awarding of a visa and ECB’s approval.
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Marchant de Lange’s agent Weber van Wyk has already overseen Kolpak deals for Rilee Rossouw and Kyle Abbott at Hampshire, David Wiese at Sussex, Dane Vilas at Lancashire and Hardus Viljoen at Derbyshire for the upcoming domestic season. He will join a long line of South Africans, which will also include Stiaan van Zyl (Sussex) and Simon Harmer (Essex). The fast bowler has taken 35 wickets in 9 first-class matches in the South African domestic season.
The weakening of the rand and the new transformation policies has had a major part to play in the massive exodus of players from South Africa. In de Lange’s case, although he hasn’t joined via a Kolpak deal, his situation is even more complicated as he will not only end his South African career but also be eligible to play in only one country’s domestic competition as a local player.
This means that if the 26-year-old has any hopes of playing in South Africa’s domestic competitions for his team, Knights, he will have to play as an overseas player and not a local one, because of the fact that he is already playing as a local player in the United Kingdom.
It will be interesting to see how De Lange fares in the County Championship in the upcoming season as well as in the limited-overs game for Glamorgan, whose captain is former South African international Jacques Rudolph (overseas player), Colin Ingram (Kolpak) and Chris Cooke (UK passport).
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Unlike others before him who gave up international cricket in favor of a better financial opportunity in County cricket, De Lange’s move reeks of a player who knows he is unlikely to represent his country again and is merely fulfilling his love for the game and getting financially rewarded for it as well.