Offspinner Dane Piedt has ended his association with South Africa cricket as he sets himself on a journey to the USA, hoping to play for their national team at the ICC Cricket World Cup whenever the opportunity comes. Piedt, 30, who has played nine Tests for South Africa and taken 26 wickets, will move to the States in a few months to play the Minor League T20 tournament, which will bring down curtains on his South Africa career. Also Read - AB de Villiers Has 'The Desire to Come Back And Play' For South Africa
Piedt signed the deal on Thursday, saying even though it was tough for him to make the decision of moving away from home, he felt it was the right time. Also Read - PM Modi Assures India's Support to South Africa, Egypt in Fighting COVID-19 Pandemic
“The USA were given ODI status last year so it’s not completely out of the question,” Piedt told ESPNcricinfo on Day 1 of a nationwide lockdown in South Africa. “I just signed the deal this morning but no-one really knows when I will be able to travel. It was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, financially and for lifestyle reasons, but it was still a tough decision to make.” Also Read - Coronavirus Slams Russia, Africa, India as Global Cases Reach 5 Lakh
Piedt admits he is stepping into the unknown, having never travelled to the US before but is hopeful of Rusty Theron, former Warriors teammate to help him settle. Theron has been living in the USA for years and made his debut for their national cricket team last year. In fact, it was Theron, who convinced Piedt for the deal.
“He has given me some information, especially about the cricket scene there. It’s a decent set-up and I know they have some good cricketers like Xavier Marshall and a few Australians and Indians who played in national Under-19 teams and then moved.”
Piedt made his debut for South Africa against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2014 and famously picked up a wicket off his first ball. Being in and out of team, Piedt was dropped from the national set-up and had to wait for three years before being recalled into the squad for South Africa’s Test series in India last year. In between the gap, Piedt had considered signing a Kolpak deal but decided against it hoping his career would take off. However, the 30-year-old, despite being the leading wicket-taker in First-Class last season, the offspinner feels he has fallen behind fellow spinners.
“Shammo [Tabraiz Shamsi] has really made a mark in white-ball cricket and Keshav [Maharaj] has done exceptionally well for the Test side, he has done exactly what the team needs,” Piedt said. “And if you look at the schedule, South Africa are not due to tour the subcontinent again soon and that’s the only place where I might get a game.
“I did it the proper way. I gave the coach [Ashwell Prince] a call and explained it to him and he was very understanding. I explained that this is an opportunity to further my cricketing career. It’s something different, a new challenge. I have always been someone who goes against the grain.”