As I said before, I do not think Yorkshire needed to sign him, but, unfortunately, had they not signed him somebody else would have. He’s a good cricketer and I totally get why counties were interested as he has a serious talent.
But for him to come out after just playing for South Africa this winter and talk about playing for England in three years has left me absolutely gobsmacked.
I agree with him coming over and playing here. There are so many Kolpaks playing in county cricket such as Heino Kuhn at Kent, Morne Morkel at Surrey, Wayne Parcell at Worcester, Shivnarine Chanderpaul at Lancashire, Marchant de Lange at Glamorgan, Daryn Smit at Derbyshire, David Wiese at Sussex, Simon Harmer at Essex and Richard Levi at Northants, and Kyle Abbott and Fidel Edwards at Hampshire and I have no issue with it.
They are coming over here to make money and there is nothing wrong with that. The South Africans will multiply it by what they get with the favourable exchange rate with the Rand and they go back home and live happily ever after.
But for Olivier to come over here as a South African and say in three years ‘I want to play for England’, I just cannot have that.
People talk about Kevin Pietersen playing for England, but it is a totally different situation. He has got an English mum and had never played for South Africa.
Olivier played for South Africa as recently as Christmas and got 31 wickets in five matches. It is purely a financial reason why he has come over here.
England residency requirements have relaxed eligibility rules for foreign-born players and Barbados-born Jofra Archer has now qualified for England, but, for me, Olivier switching would give off the wrong message.
He should have just said, ‘Listen, I have come out here, having just played for South Africa, to make a living’.
To say he wants to play for England in three years is absolutely extraordinary.
Onto the introduction of players’ names on shirts in Tests and I think it is a great idea and am surprised it has taken so long. It is a natural progression.
I am more interested in the names and not the numbers. The numbers do not mean anything for me.
I understand why there is the need for numbers in one-day cricket where everything happens so fast and sometimes you need to see a number as you cannot see the name. But Test cricket is not as quick and a name is sufficient.
If there are numbers it should only be two for me. The situation where Chris Gayle had 333 on his back looked stupid. But the name is more important.
Stuart Broad took my No 8 in one-day cricket. He asked if I minded if he took the number as you retire it two years after you have played. He knew I had retired and asked to take it as it had not been two years. I said, ‘Yeah, no problem.’ So he carried it on and at the minute there is no No 8 in one-day cricket.
But I am in favour of the general idea of names. Cricket is falling behind a lot of other sports in the popularity stakes and this idea means players can promote themselves as well.
It can also attract new audiences and make cricketers national heroes and superstars and enable the public to identify players. You need a face with a name as you see in Twenty-20, ODI, county and franchise cricket. Why not Test cricket? Or is it too posh?
We now have the Test Championship, day-night Tests and other stuff. Test cricket is popular, but needs jazzing up.
If our cricketers walk down the street the only one people would probably recognise is Ben Stokes as he has been in the press for the wrong reasons.
You look at players now and many of them look the same to spectators. They all look like athletes off a production line and it is not like the old days when you could tell one player because he had a bit of a portly belly.
To add to the difficulty now a lot of players use the same sponsor. So when you are commentating and the players all have their caps on it is very hard to see who is who, so the names will help. So, from that point of view, I am really happy with it.
Will Jacks hit a 25-ball century for Surrey in their T10 game with Lancashire in Dubai and people have been saying, ‘that is another one off the production line’.
I would be more worried if I was Lancashire and one of their bowlers went for 37 in an over. Stephen Parry – the poor lad.
How do you get a 25-ball century? Cricket has gone mad since the winter with some of the shots, pitches played on and short boundaries. It is in danger of becoming boring as opposed to a spectacle when every ball gets hit for four or six.
I just hope the game does not become that in one-day and Twenty20 cricket.
The boundaries were so small in the West Indies and you have people like Chris Gayle and Jos Buttler, who are huge hitters of the ball, making grounds look like postage stamps.
Is that what we want to see? Just power-hitting and no skill or manoeuvring through the infield and running twos?
It is all fours or sixes now and you can get them with mis-hits.