A day after Geoff Boycott pledged that Yorkshire would not press the panic button, the county has announced that Jacques Rudolph will return as an overseas player for the rest of this season.
Clearance from the England and Wales Cricket Board has been granted and Rudolph is expected to play in Yorkshire’s final six County Championship matches, starting with the home game against Lancashire on July 20-23.
Signed as a Kolpak player in 2007, when he appeared to have turned his back on international cricket, Rudolph was released from his contract at the end of last season, apparently hoping to resurrect his Test career. He is currently captaining South Africa A in a triangular tournament in Zimbabwe, also involving Australia.
Boycott, a Yorkshire board member, was at Headingley this week to cast his eye over the latest Academy crop. He promised the club would continue to develop their own stars rather than look for quick-fix solutions from outside the county.
After going close to winning the title last year, and reaching the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40 league, Yorkshire have struggled on all fronts this season and lie next to the bottom of Division One.
“It may be tough at the moment, but I’m confident the policy of bringing through our own players will pay off,” Boycott told the Yorkshire Post. “It’s not just me; the board as a whole believe the right way to go is to produce as many of our home-grown players as possible.”
Yorkshire have usually fielded ten players born within the county this season, the exceptions being Gerard Brophy and Gary Ballance, but the absence of Rudolph’s runs has generally been cited as the reason for their struggles.
He scored more than 1,000 first-class runs every year while amassing 8,629 runs in all competitions during his four previous seasons with the club.
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of professional cricket, said: “Jacques is a hugely-respected and popular player and we have missed his contribution in all forms of the game this season. The entire club is very pleased to welcome him back and we look forward to his runs lifting the team in the remaining matches.”