Faf du Plessis hopes Brexit puts an end to the Kolpak system
Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in the event of a 'no-deal' will be a boost to South Africa cricket according to Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis, who rued the talent drain from the country owing to the Kolpak system.
The Kolpak accord allows players from different nations around the world to join county teams without being counted as 'overseas cricketers'.
This deal entails such players will not be permitted to represent their homeland on the international stage.
However, with a no-deal Brexit on the cards, the Kolpak ruling could fail to uphold by 2021.
Du Plessis lamented the loss of off-spinner Simon Harmer, who signed a Kolpak contract in 2016 and has not appeared for South Africa since then.
Harmer recently topped the wicket-taking charts for Essex in the County Championship with 83 scalps at an average of 18.28.
"It's sad for South African cricket not to have the option of their best players," du Plessis told reporters after his side crashed to an innings defeat to India in the third Test.
"Simon Harmer has had an unbelievable season. And it would be great for South Africa to be in a position where they could go (for tours).
"He's done well overseas. Let's bring him on tour with us. So maybe, post-Brexit, guys will still go and play there (in England), but you can still pick them for your country."
Duanne Olivier was the latest Proteas player to follow the Kolpak route earlier this year, months after earning the player of the series award against Pakistan in his maiden assignment with the national side.
Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw were other high-profile cricketers from the African nation to join English county teams via the Kolpak over the past few years.
'The way forward is you start identifying characters'
The retirement of top players Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn also proved to be detrimental to South Africa in their bid to resist the dominant Indian team.
Du Plessis pointed out Amla and Steyn's absence from the side deprived the youngsters of a chance to interact with veterans of the game and hone their skills.
"You lose all of that experience, which would have helped the young guys so much," he said. "Playing with Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers is the greatest learning curve that you can get."
The 35-year-old reiterated the need to be patient in order to smoothly navigate through the tough rebuilding phase.
By citing the example of Quinton de Kock and Dean Elgar, du Plessis hoped more players would step up and play a pivotal role in South Africa's progress.
"It's a rebuilding phase, so the way forward when you go through real, tough times like this, is you start identifying characters," said du Plessis.