For Fidel Edwards, the decision to play for English county side Hampshire under the Kolpak system was an easy one, considering the fact that neither Barbados’ nor the West Indies selectors were willing to give him a similar opportunity.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY during a telephone interview this afternoon, one day after news broke that he had signed on to play with Hampshire for the second half of the 2015 campaign, Edwards insisted that he hadn’t given up hope of playing for the West Indies again.
However, the 33 year-old fiery fast-bowler, who last played for the regional side in 2012 against Bangladesh, quickly pointed out that his hand had been forced after being overlooked by the Barbados selectors for the recently concluded Regional Four-Day competition.
Additionally, he only featured in two of the team’s NAGICO Super50 matches. Edwards said it was a decision which had to be made to secure his future.
“I have not given up hope of playing for the West Indies again, but I know that won’t happen if I don’t get to play regular cricket,” the diminutive bowler admitted.
“I had to make a decision for my future. To get back into international cricket I have to play cricket and Barbados just wasn’t giving me that opportunity.
“For the whole season I was training hard, but I just wasn’t getting the opportunities. The selectors didn’t even talk to me and tell me anything. I saw guys getting injured, but yet I still wasn’t being picked. What else was I to do?” Edwards questioned.
The veteran of 55 Tests, 50 One Day Internationals and 20 T20 matches hastily quashed any notions that at 33-years-old he was past his best.
Edwards –– who delayed this interview to attend the gym – said he had been working feverishly on both his conditioning and bowling and felt like he was in the best form of his life.
But once again, the former student of St James Secondary (now Frederick Smith), emphasized that it would all count for nothing if he didn’t get the opportunity to impress on the field.
“I know I’m bowling better than ever before. I’m a lot more mature than I was when I played for the West Indies so I don’t think that my age is really a factor.
“I’m also bowling just as fast as I used to, if not faster. But at the end of the day if I am not getting opportunities to play, I won’t be able to impress the West Indies’ selectors and get back into the team,” Edwards, who has taken 165 Test wickets, including 12 five-wicket hauls at an average of 37.87 reiterated.
Under the Kolpak system Edwards will not be classified as an overseas players. Counties are usually limited to two overseas players at any one time but under the Kolpak system any number of European, South African or Caribbean players with work permits can be deemed as domestic (English) players as long as they are classified as overseas players in their own home country.
The system is named after Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak who went to the European Court in a bid to play in Germany without being classed as a foreigner, claiming restraint of trade.