By Graham Hardcastle
Duanne Olivier has made no secret of the fact that giving up international cricket with South Africa was the hardest decision he’ll ever have to make. But the in-form quick has admitted that choosing Yorkshire was easy.
Competition for Olivier’s signature was fierce when it was revealed that he was open to the prospect of taking up Kolpak status in county cricket.
Thankfully, the 26-year-old choose Emerald Headingley as his new home on a three-year contract.
Olivier has hit the headlines this winter with 31 wickets in five Test Matches, including a career best eleven-wicket match haul against Pakistan, and he admits: “For the past couple of years, I’ve been feeling good about my game. I know what I want to achieve.”
He is no stranger to English conditions having toured here numerous times with South Africans squads from senior to under 19s.
But he has revealed that last season’s short spell as Derbyshire’s overseas player has hopefully helped him mould a game plan which will benefit Yorkshire.
“Before coming to Derby, I’d struggled in England previously to find a good length and hit a good area. But playing last year was very important,” he said.
“What I’ve learnt is that with the new ball you need to go fuller.
“Especially early season there will be something in the wicket, so it’s about pulling the batsman forward.
“They say Headingley is quite bowler-friendly, which will be great.”
“I do like to be aggressive with bowling short balls as well, but the key is to keep things as simple as possible.”
Prior to Christmas, Olivier won the inaugural Mzansi Super League T20 competition with the Jozi Stars. His haul of 20 wickets meant he was the overall leading wicket-taker.
His captain was Lancashire’s Dane Vilas, and he chuckles knowingly as the question is asked about a friend becoming a foe.
“It’s going to be a good contest!” he added.
“It’s a new journey for me, and I’m excited to get started. It’s about having fun and enjoying every moment, making new friends and meeting new people. I want to contribute to the club both on and off the field.
“We have a young squad at the moment, which is great. We have a couple of senior guys who can guide them along the way. If we can start well against Notts and get a couple of wins early, our confidence will be high.”
Olivier is confident that Yorkshire life and county cricket can replace the buzz of international cricket.
“Playing Test cricket is unique, but I feel I’ve made the right decision to come to Yorkshire,” he said.
“I’ve seen a couple of games in the past where there’s 2-3,000 people watching a Championship game or even 10,000 at the T20s. For me, the buzz will definitely be there because I am desperate to do well for Yorkshire and myself.”
His maiden first-class wicket for the White Rose will be the 400th of his career.
“That will be quite special,” he admitted. “It’s perfectly set up to start this new chapter in my life with that landmark. Hopefully it will come in that first game!”