Rilee Rossouw. Picture: REUTERS
Rilee Rossouw. Picture: REUTERS

Former Proteas top-order batsman Rilee Rossouw admits that he misses playing for SA but does not regret his decision in 2017 to take up a Kolpak deal with Hampshire.

Rossouw shocked Cricket SA by announcing he was moving to England to join Hampshire on a three-year contract.

It was not a decision he took lightly, he said on Wednesday as he prepared to turn out for the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League (MSL).

“It was a decision that was not made overnight‚” said the 29-year-old after being asked if he regrets turning his back on the Proteas. “I would like to stand here and tell you all the details but I don’t think it is the right time now to do that.

“My main focus is the Mzansi Super League and it feels good to be back with some of the guys.

“I have played with and against some of these guys in the past and I am looking forward to the experience.”

Rossouw still has one year left on his contract with Hampshire but he does not know what the future holds‚ even though the thought of playing for the Proteas has often crossed his mind.

“As I stand here right now‚ I probably want to keep on extending [the contract].

“I have thought about coming back to play for the Proteas many times but I am sticking to my decision for now.”

Rossouw has established himself as a T20 specialist since his move to England and he plays in lucrative tournaments around the world. He is looking forward to featuring for the Spartans, even though he is available for only two games.

“It has been busy since I moved to England” he said.

“I have been playing a lot of cricket all around the world. I would like to think that I have improved as a cricketer.

“Obviously I do miss playing for the national team but it was a decision I made and [one] I will stick with,” he said. “I am happy and comfortable right now. I have learned from top-quality players and how different people think.

“A week ago I was on holiday and now I am here. The moment they phoned me ‚ I told them that I was available to play in his tournament.

“I am very excited but not 100% sure what to expect.

“I am here for a short time but I want to [leave a lasting impression]‚ that is something that I will try and do for the Spartans.”

The Spartans open their campaign against the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.

Coach Mark Boucher will be looking to Rossouw and senior players such as captain AB de Villiers to give them a good start.