Dolphins’ Abbott called up

2013-02-20 00:00

DOLPHINS swing bowler Kyle Abbott (25) has been drafted into the Proteas Test squad as a replacement for the injured Morné Morkel ahead of Friday’s third and final Test against Pakistan at Centurion.

It’s a just reward for a player who has turned his game around this season, finishing the domestic four-day campaign as the leading wicket-taker with 49 at an average of 15,36.

Abbott proved that he could take wickets around the country and his crowning moment was against the Cobras at Newlands where he orchestrated a thrilling 15-run win for the Dolphins with match figures of 12-96, including eight for 45 in the Cobras’ second innings.

It is unlikely that Abbott will play against Pakistan as the Cobras’ Rory Kleinveldt will replace Morkel, with the Dolphins paceman placed in a covering role.

If he does not play, he will be released to return to the Dolphins for the domestic T20 competition.

However, Abbott has been recognised by the national selectors and clearly this is a step in the right direction.

A few weeks ago, in an interview with The Witness, Abbott said he would let his accomplishments on the field do the talking and it was up to the selectors whether he was noticed.

He said it was every contracted franchise cricketer’s dream to play for the Proteas and now he was no longer rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“I am excited and feel that I now have a foot in the door,” he said.

“It’s a step to bigger things in my cricket career. If I do happen to play, I will stick to the tried and trusted recipe, which has been the key to my success this season … making the batsman play, hitting the right areas and not wasting too many deliveries.”

Convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson said Abbott deserved his chance.

“We considered Lonwabo Tsotsobe, but he has an ankle injury and will only be fit for the limited-overs matches of the Pakistan tour,” said Hudson.

“Kyle has had an outstanding domestic season.

“He swings the ball well and has earned his call up through hard work and reaping the rewards.”

Dolphins coach Lance Klusener — who said a couple of weeks ago that Abbott was “bashing down the door for national selection this season” — was proud of the player who he said had “put in the hard yards all season”.

“I am excited for Kyle. He has stepped up to the mark this season as our senior quick bowler and has achieved wherever he has played.

“He has worked on bowling the right channel and has bowled tightly and with aggression.

“He has put the results on the table for us and his big asset is bowling well with the old ball.

“Week in and out, he has got wickets for us and is deadly when getting reverse swing. He deserves all that comes his way,” said Klusener.

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