Duanne Olivier is hoping his first taste of cricket in Sri Lanka will pave the way for more Twenty20 cricket with Yorkshire next summer.
The South African fast bowler has signed to play in the inaugural Lanka Premier League, to be played from Thursday through until December 16.
Olivier will represent the Jaffna Stallions in the five-team event including many world stars; Andre Russell, Angelo Mathews and Shahid Afridi to name three.
Yorkshire team-mate Dawid Malan had also signed to play for Jaffna before international commitments with England in South Africa took precedent.
This opportunity is a timely one for 28-year-old Olivier who would have expected to play in the South African Mzansi Super League, only for that competition to be cancelled because of Coronavirus.
Olivier has only played eight Vitality Blast matches in two seasons with Yorkshire, with form and rest reasons why.
But he ended 2020 with five wickets in a trio of encouraging North Group performances, with a best of 2-16 from four overs in defeat to Durham at Emerald Headingley.
Having been the 2018 Mzansi Super League’s leading wicket-taker with 20 in eight games for champions Jozi Stars, Olivier gave Yorkshire’s fans and hierarchy another glimpse of his T20 capabilities.
He is hoping to continue that kind of form in the LPL, which is being played solely at one venue in Hambantota.
“I’m very excited to be joining up with the Jaffna Stallions,” said Olivier.
“Sri Lanka is a country I’ve never been to, so it’s an opportunity I want to make the most of.
“There are players from all over the world, and it’s going to be a strong competition. It’s always nice to have plenty of internationals involved to learn from. It doesn’t matter if you’ve played 100 games or you’re playing your first, you can always learn.
“Kyle Abbott is with me, Tom Moores also, Ravi Bopara, Shoaib Malik and Usman Shinwari, the fast bowler who plays for Pakistan.
“The Mzansi Super League has been cancelled at home, so this replaces it for me. It’s a great chance to get some cricket in in the off-season.
“It’s a great way to do well and showcase my skills. I haven’t played a lot of T20 recently, but I’m confident in my ability to do well.”
Olivier continued: “From a personal point of view, I was happy with my performances (for Yorkshire) in the summer. But, team wise, we missed out on the Blast quarter-finals, which was frustrating.
“But young players got opportunities, which should stand us in good stead for next season. With some senior players available again, I’m confident we can do well.”
Olivier has claimed 56 wickets in 47 career T20 appearances for all teams
“It’s a format I enjoy,” he said of an LPL event which may play into his hands if pitches at one venue become tired and bring yorkers and short balls into the equation.
“Hopefully!” he said. “Reverse swing might also come into it as well, which will be a big help to me. We’ll have to see. The only thing I can say for certain is that will be very hot.”
Upon the conclusion of the LPL, Olivier will return home to South Africa for Christmas.
Afterwards, he will step up his preparations for his third season with Yorkshire.
He is exploring the possibility of playing some domestic cricket in the New Year. If not, he is hopeful of at least training with a South African domestic side.
“The four-day season has started now, so from New Year onwards it’s one-day cricket and T20,” he added. “I’m trying to get a few games, but if not I will practice with a team to get me ready for the start of the county season.
“I didn’t have the preparation I wanted for the county season just gone because of the hard lockdown here and in the UK. So if I can get as much preparation in early in the year to get ahead, that will be perfect for me.”