mid-day exclusive: It's all Kyle Abbott today!

Updated: Jun 05, 2019, 11:42 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

Former South African pacer Kyle Abbott, currently with Hampshire, believes today's encounter against Team India at Rose Bowl will be a high-scoring one

South African players during a training session on the eve of their match against India yesterday. pic/AFP
South African players during a training session on the eve of their match against India yesterday. pic/AFP

Harit N JoshiSouthampton: The scene outside the South African dressing room is upbeat despite the setback of pace ace Dale Steyn being ruled out of the World Cup. The team members were particularly pleased to meet their former teammate Kyle Abbott at the Ageas Bowl which is now the home ground for Hampshire pacer Abbott, 31.

The former SA fast bowling all-rounder shocked many back home when he put an end to his international career by signing a three-year Kolpak deal with Hampshire Cricket in 2017.
Abbott, who played 11 Tests and 28 ODIs for SA, taking 39 and 34 wickets respectively, made the decision when he was at the height of his bowling prowess. He had played six games of the 2015 World Cup before he was forced to make way for a politically motivated move to accommodate a fit-again Vernon Philander in the playing XI for the semi-final which South Africa eventually lost to New Zealand.

Abbott was also part of South Africa's World T20 campaign in 2016, where he claimed seven wickets in three games, and was on the verge of becoming one of SA's bowling mainstays when he revealed his secret Kolpak deal.

However, there were no concerns when Abbott met his former teammates here on the eve of their crucial World Cup clash with India.

Kyle Abbot
Kyle Abbott

"I hold got no grudges against anyone really. It was my decision at the end of the day. As far I have seen these guys in the last couple of years, Dale [Steyn] and Hesh [Hashim Amla] have played here. Dav [David Miller] is my best mate, so I see them around most of the time. I keep in touch with Qinny [Quinton de Kock], Faf [Du Plessis]. So, it was just another catch-up [with them today]," Abbott told mid-day yesterday.

SA in precarious position

South Africa find themselves in a precarious position after two defeats in two outings upfront in this World Cup so far. And now with Steyn ruled out of the tournament having failed to recover from a shoulder injury, the Proteas have their backs to the wall when they play India today. Abbott, however, is confident that adversity will bring out the best from his ex-teammates.

"That [Steyn injury] is a very big blow for South Africa. Obviously, he is a world-class bowler and has a huge amount of experience. It's already a tough start to the tournament and this is going to make it tougher. But as the South Africans are, they will always find a way. It is going to be a tough game for them as India come into this tournament as one of the favourites. On the back of two losses, it is going to be a big game for them… can't beat around the bush. Personal experience on this ground and like all games this season, it is going to be high-scoring. I think we could see quite a few runs tomorrow. It will be a good game," said Abbott, who has claimed 19 wickets in four county games for Hampshire in the season so far.

Experience matters

Abbott, who has played at the Ageas Bowl for two seasons now, felt the team could draw from opener Aiden Markram's experience here. "They have Aiden [Markram] in the change room, who has played here for two months. He knows quite a bit. But, these days, there a lot of information available on the internet so, it's pretty easy. I think they will be okay," he said.

Also read: World Cup 2019: 'Asli' WC begins today as India take on South Africa

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