Kyle Abbott. © Getty Images

Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw will no longer be available for South African selection. © Getty Images

South African cricket was rocked on Thursday (January 5) when Kyle Abbott, the fast bowler, and Rilee Rossouw, the one-day star, quit the national team in order to play county cricket in England with Hampshire under so-called ‘Kolpak contracts’.

This is broadly what the Kolpak agreements entail:

— The Kolpak ruling came into force in 2003 when the European Court of Justice ruled that anyone with a work permit from a country which has an associate trading agreement with the EU had the same rights as a European worker.

— The ruling originally related to Maros Kolpak, the Slovakian handball player who was released from his German club because of a quota on non-EU players. He claimed it was unfair and the court ruled in his favour.

— A player becomes eligible for a Kolpak deal when he gives up the right to play for his country, and is not classed as an overseas-player signing.

— Kolpak players need only a working holiday visa to play.