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THE DEBATE: IS THE INFLUX OF SOUTH AFRICAN CRICKETERS TO THE COUNTY GAME A GOOD THING?

LET US KNOW @THECRICKETERMAG

Yes: Giles White (Hampshire director of cricket)

I cannot see how bringing quality players like Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw to county cricket can be bad for the English domestic game. There are a lot of counties – 18 – and a lot of professional cricketers in England. In my opinion, adding high-quality players has to be a good thing as it improves the standard. Kyle was with us in 2014 and made a big impression. He wanted some security, and had become tired of sitting on the bench for South Africa, and in the IPL, and so on. We have given him a four-year deal. Rilee has also signed for the long term. He has a great limited-overs record for South Africa and also made a first-class triple-century in a day [Eagles v Titans at Centurion, 2009/10]. They are both quality players and can have an impact in all formats. Though good for our domestic game, I acknowledge the concern surrounding South Africa, and with it the international game, if their best players continue to leave. At Hampshire, we are very focused on our academy. Our aim is to have a core of young Hampshire players in the team supplemented by some high-quality recruits that young players can learn from. That is why we went for George Bailey as overseas – he is a terrific bloke as well as a fine player. We have four young players in the North v South fixtures in the UAE. Our academy seems to be working well and hopefully the young players will benefit from having George, Kyle and Rilee around.

No: Hampshire legend Barry Richards 

I think 2017 is going to be the year of the independent contractor. It is going to be a real problem for some countries working out how they are going to keep their own players. With the surplus of one-day competitions, Test cricket is under enormous threat. Unless the ICC pay attention to it you will be left with only the icon series like the Ashes. It will be very difficult for the minnows to keep going and for TV audiences to be engaged with them. Do you want the best players playing, or do you want Test cricket? It could be in future that you have the best 100 players in the world playing, and a draft system so that a guy who is not selected by one country could be transferred to another. I was the first official professional cricketer in South Africa. In those days loyalty was everything. You could not move clubs, never mind provinces or countries. I was labelled a mercenary. Nowadays the fans embrace it. They say he has to put food on the table; his loyalty is to his family, not to his country. It has been a complete about-turn.  Most would not blame Kyle Abbott. He is 29 and a fast bowler, so he is not going to go on too long and he is not certain of his place in the South Africa side. He has to make his living how he can. But I do really worry for Test cricket.   

Results from last month's The Debate: Should Law 42.3 be relaxed to allow the use of artificial substances to shine the ball?

Yes 66%
No 34%