The 29-year old BuildNat Cape Cobras’ top-order star Stiaan van Zyl will join Sussex on a Kolpak deal from 2017 to 2019, but uttered his firm commitment to the Cobras-cause for the foreseeable future.
His agent, Arthur Turner, said Van Zyl decided on the deal because it had been his life-long dream to play county cricket, almost like it has been the dream of AB de Villiers to play in the Indian Premier League.
Van Zyl is not part of the South African test squad or plans right now and he is not in the One Day International team or the T20-squad.
“He will be a great asset to Sussex. In England the championship is what it is all about, and Stiaan ticks the boxes, because he has scored 18 centuries, averages 42.55 with the bat and is also a great person,” Turner said.
Van Zyl has represented South Africa in 12 tests. He scored a century on test debut in December 2014.
In the 2013/2014-season, he hammered 927 runs in the Sunfoil Series.Van Zyl had been part of the Cobras starting eleven for nine years and has been a prolific star who was particularly dominant in their successful pursuit for first-class silverware in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014.
As a left-handed stylist, Van Zyl knows exactly how to build an innings, and his bowling has yielded 52 wickets.
He captured the wicket of Marlon Samuels in 2014 in a key moment at PPC Newlands when the West Indies were looking as if they could cruise towards an innings lead.
Turner emphasized that Van Zyl has no plans to leave the Cobras and is proudly committed to the franchise. He still has a year left on his Cobras-contract and is eager to continue upon the conclusion of that contract at fortress PPC Newlands.
The 29-year-old, who has played 12 Tests for the Proteas, will move to Hove from Cape Cobras at the end of the South African domestic season.
“He is a very accomplished cricketer and I still believe his best is yet to come,” Sussex coach Mark Davis said to BBC Sussex.
Davis added: “His ability to bowl is important as having somebody in the top-order who can bowl seam is an important part of our strategy moving forward.
“He plays all formats and is versatile, which is a great asset to us. To get someone of the ilk of Stiaan is very good for us.”
Van Zyl, who played his last Test in August against New Zealand, joins Sussex as a non-overseas player under the Kolpak ruling.
“Stiaan is indeed a very underrated player in domestic one-day cricket, averaging more than 37 with the blade,” said Turner.
Andrew Puttick, his colleague, has often spoken about how Van Zyl has nurtured and improved his ability to score singles off slow bowlers or even attack them.
Previously he might have been bogged down by them, but his rotation of strike against the slow men has been one of his most encouraging improvements the past few years, Puttick said.