Cape Town - Proteas coach Russell Domingo has launched a scathing attack on Rilee Rossouw following the now former-Proteas batsman's decision to turn his back on the national side for a three-year Kolpak deal with English county club Hampshire.
Rossouw was announced alongside Kyle Abbott as Hampshire's new Kolpak signings in a move that has rocked South African cricket and placed renewed attention on the struggle to prevent players from moving abroad.
It wasn't so much Rossouw's decision as it was the way he carried himself that tipped Domingo over the edge at a fiery Newlands press conference following South Africa's 282-run triumph against Sri Lanka in the second Test.
While Abbott had addressed media following the series-clinching victory, Rossouw was obviously not present.
Domingo, usually quiet by nature, got stuck in when discussing Rossouw.
"I haven’t heard from Rilee since we left Australia, to be honest," Domingo said.
"Some of us have tried to get hold of him, and this is the truth, we got an email from him off his iPhone telling us he's signed a Kolpak deal.
"He spelled my name wrong for starters. He wrote one 'L' instead of two 'Ls'.
"That’s where we are. I am bitterly disappointed in him."
Domingo did not stop there and he highlighted how much time and patience Proteas management had invested in a player they considered to be closest to AB de Villiers, ability-wise.
"He toured Australia as the back-up Test batsman. He was the next batsman in," Domingo said.
"He’s played One-Day cricket for us and lots of T20 cricket for us.
"He’s the guy we backed after five noughts. If that was a player of colour who got five noughts, everyone would have said 'transformation'.
"But he got five noughts and we thought this was a guy who could
play the closest level to AB de Villiers. He’s a guy we’ve
invested in massively and I am bitterly disappointed."
Domingo was less critical of Abbott, but equally disappointed.
"I had discussions with Kyle six to
eight months ago, encouraging him to hang in to stay within the system while
Morkel, Steyn and Rabada were fit and for him to be patient," said Domingo.
"I thought it had subsided, and hadn’t heard the talk again until two days ago. That was also a disappointment for me that the whole thing has unfolded without us being consulted or even being allowed to pitch a sales pitch to him.
"Nobody is guaranteed to play for his country. I can’t guarantee it. Nobody has the right to play for his country. He (Abbott) has as good a chance as any other player to play for his country.
"That has been the disappointment that weren’t allowed a sales pitch ... we weren’t allowed to present anything to him before he made his decision."
Domingo said that Abbott had worked his way into the Proteas first team in all formats and that he was the guy being backed to take the new ball at the ICC Champions Trophy in June.
"He’s (Abbott) been doing it for a period of time. He’s played most of the games. We took him ahead of Dale to the West Indies," Domingo said.
"He played ahead of Morne Morkel in the West Indies. He played against Australia here when we beat them 5-0 (ODIs). He’s played in our T20 World Cup ahead of Morne Morkel, so if he hasn’t got an idea (that he was in the mix for the Champions Trophy) then I don’t know."