Big Bash League 2012-13 December 5, 2012

Steyn's BBL stint blocked by Cobras

34

Brisbane Heat have been left irate at the revelation that Dale Steyn will miss his return bout with Ricky Ponting in the BBL after the Cape Cobras withdrew his permission to play at the last possible moment.

Instead of flying from Perth to Brisbane ahead of the Heat's match against Ponting's Hobart Hurricanes on Sunday, Steyn will return home in order to play for the Cobras in a domestic limited overs semi-final on the same day.

Having signed Steyn up for the one-off fixture six weeks ago and secured a no objection certificate from the South Africa board, the Heat are understandably angered by the loss of their big-name signing a mere four days before curtain-up at the Gabba.

"We conducted all of our negotiations with Dale and his management in good faith and fulfilled all requirements that the BBL needed in order to sign him as one of our international players,'' the Heat general manager Andrew Blucher said.

"We provided signed contracts, a NOC that was provided six weeks ago by Cricket South Africa and were completely up front in what we proposed.

"We now find ourselves less than a week out from the opening game without a key element of our pre-game preparations and that is terribly disappointing for the team and our fans and members, who were eagerly anticipating seeing Dale play.

"Dale is also unhappy with this outcome. He was looking forward to the match, and of course has a very good relationship with our coach Darren Lehman.

"He and his manager are embarrassed and upset about the way things have turned out, considering we were crystal clear with what we had communicated to Cricket South Africa.

"We would have imagined that CSA and the Cobras would have consulted and worked out the various scenarios that would have been involved. For that not to happen is quite extraordinary and highly unprofessional."

The Cobras' unwillingness to allow Steyn to play for the Heat only emerged in the aftermath of South Africa's win in the third Test in Perth, as it became apparent he might be available for their domestic commitments. The batsman Faf du Plessis, who is due to take part on the semi-final for the Titans, will play in the BBL tournament opener for the Melbourne Renegades on Friday.

Jacques Faul, the CSA chief executive, expressed regret at the episode. "We regret having to withdraw the NOC. We are not in a position to determine which teams will be involved in the final play-off matches at the end of the competition," he said. "Players and their agents also have a duty to consult with the home franchise in this regard.

"We have an obligation to our local sponsors and franchises to play the Proteas wherever possible. We will also consider withdrawing a NOC due to workload management or safety reasons.If Cobras were not in the play-off, I am sure it would not have been a problem. We apologise if the one-off match in Australia caused so much drama. In future it might be better not clear any players in our season,in the past we have aimed to help where we can. We also advise players and agents to first negotiate with their home franchise. I have explained this to [Cricket Australia CEO] James Sutherland during our meeting in Dubai.

"We are thankful for the support of our sponsors and cricket supporters who have the right to see the best in the world play in the domestic competitions. If you assess the number of players from SA playing outside the country and the number of NOC's we issue, it is clear that we acknowledge the opportunities available but unfortunately have to balance this with being fair to local sponsors.

"In saying all of this ,we have to admit that releasing the initial NOC was a mistake, we should have waited to see who is in the play-off. We apologise for that."

Cobras' coach, Paul Adams, said the matter was a straightforward one for the franchise: "It's simple. I want the best bowler in my team [to play] this key play-off game."

Lehmann said he would now attempt in the little time he has remaining to find a replacement international player for the match. "We had a spot free so while it is quite late in the piece, we had looked at some contingency plans with a few players in the event we had something like this happen," Lehmann said. "We'll get on the phone and email and see what is possible."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 6, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    I think Steyn and many other South African Protea players should not forget their domestic sides and also realise the impact they have on other young cricketers. There are many talented youngsters in the SA domestic setup that would benefit greatly from playing alongside the likes of Steyn and Kallis. I believe the absence of Protea players involved in domestic competitions is the reason for SA's lack of specialist bowlers and batsmen coming up. They should be mentors for the young guys. Problem is the international calendar is too packed and key players like Steyn will need rest.

  • Simoc on December 6, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Who cares. It's only Brisbane and the overheated. They are nothing. Come and play in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne for sure but among the posers and irrelevant, it's just not Steyn.

  • Gazooligan on December 6, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    I agree that Steyn's locals should get priority to see him play. International "dropping in" of big names in cricket makes for increased excitement (and revenue) but it is good to maintain a sense of home loyalty where possible. I guess that's where planning and negotiation come into play. In this case it would seem that is where things fell apart, and I think the management of the man in the limelight should take a good degree of responsibility for this. They made the commitment and really should be the ones looking for any potential obstacles to contracted obligations. We don't need these things becoming big news stories - just let the punters go along and enjoy watching the action!

  • on December 6, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    As a Queenslander and a Brisbane Heat supporter, I admire loyalty and Steyn should play for his home side before all others. It just would have been nice for the Cobras to give us a bit more time to organise someone else. :)

  • zenboomerang on December 6, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Personally disappointed, but obviously a mix up with CSA & the local comps not communicating clearly as all parties would have been aware of Steyn's decision weeks ago - seems odd though at this very late call by the Cobras' & not in the best interests of Steyn as long flights are not a bowlers best friend... Been a number of late calls by some other countries boards, so guess the BBL teams will be wiser in the future on wasting time & money on players that don't turn up after signing contracts...

  • Robster1 on December 6, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    Of course Steyn should be playing for the Cobras in their semi final. It is his home team to whixh he is contracted. No more need be said.

  • on December 6, 2012, 2:08 GMT

    Great to see that no matter the level of cricket some things never change...Darren Lehman having to do a ring around to make up the numbers whne you have a last minute drop out. My advice from past experience is the pub on the night before the match is a good bet. You can usually talk someone who has had a few into playing.

  • Meety on December 6, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    I feel sorry for Steyn, deprived of playing for a team that won't choke at an International event!

  • Mitcher on December 5, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    @edgie: You're missing the point. The problem is Cobras said one thing and flipped at the last minute. Besides, I don't really think Australians in general are getting 'huffy'. Just the franchise, which seems fairly reasonable.

  • wellrounded87 on December 5, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @rajeev129 apparently you don't know much about the Brisbane heat's side this year. They are very good all round. Watson/Burns/Johnson/McDermott/Cutting/Forrest/Vettori. They are favourited for a top 4 finish and good shots at winning.

  • on December 6, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    I think Steyn and many other South African Protea players should not forget their domestic sides and also realise the impact they have on other young cricketers. There are many talented youngsters in the SA domestic setup that would benefit greatly from playing alongside the likes of Steyn and Kallis. I believe the absence of Protea players involved in domestic competitions is the reason for SA's lack of specialist bowlers and batsmen coming up. They should be mentors for the young guys. Problem is the international calendar is too packed and key players like Steyn will need rest.

  • Simoc on December 6, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Who cares. It's only Brisbane and the overheated. They are nothing. Come and play in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne for sure but among the posers and irrelevant, it's just not Steyn.

  • Gazooligan on December 6, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    I agree that Steyn's locals should get priority to see him play. International "dropping in" of big names in cricket makes for increased excitement (and revenue) but it is good to maintain a sense of home loyalty where possible. I guess that's where planning and negotiation come into play. In this case it would seem that is where things fell apart, and I think the management of the man in the limelight should take a good degree of responsibility for this. They made the commitment and really should be the ones looking for any potential obstacles to contracted obligations. We don't need these things becoming big news stories - just let the punters go along and enjoy watching the action!

  • on December 6, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    As a Queenslander and a Brisbane Heat supporter, I admire loyalty and Steyn should play for his home side before all others. It just would have been nice for the Cobras to give us a bit more time to organise someone else. :)

  • zenboomerang on December 6, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    Personally disappointed, but obviously a mix up with CSA & the local comps not communicating clearly as all parties would have been aware of Steyn's decision weeks ago - seems odd though at this very late call by the Cobras' & not in the best interests of Steyn as long flights are not a bowlers best friend... Been a number of late calls by some other countries boards, so guess the BBL teams will be wiser in the future on wasting time & money on players that don't turn up after signing contracts...

  • Robster1 on December 6, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    Of course Steyn should be playing for the Cobras in their semi final. It is his home team to whixh he is contracted. No more need be said.

  • on December 6, 2012, 2:08 GMT

    Great to see that no matter the level of cricket some things never change...Darren Lehman having to do a ring around to make up the numbers whne you have a last minute drop out. My advice from past experience is the pub on the night before the match is a good bet. You can usually talk someone who has had a few into playing.

  • Meety on December 6, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    I feel sorry for Steyn, deprived of playing for a team that won't choke at an International event!

  • Mitcher on December 5, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    @edgie: You're missing the point. The problem is Cobras said one thing and flipped at the last minute. Besides, I don't really think Australians in general are getting 'huffy'. Just the franchise, which seems fairly reasonable.

  • wellrounded87 on December 5, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @rajeev129 apparently you don't know much about the Brisbane heat's side this year. They are very good all round. Watson/Burns/Johnson/McDermott/Cutting/Forrest/Vettori. They are favourited for a top 4 finish and good shots at winning.

  • on December 5, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    Deadset deplorable by whoever is involved in the process imo. If I were the heat I'd look to get some of the coin they would of spent on Steyn back because I guarantee the crowd on Sunday will now be smaller than if he were playing. I can't fathom how in any way shape of form you can back out of a signed and agreed upon contract regardless of who it's for. Surely he could play the 1 match and then return for the final? tt'd look pretty silly if he plays and they lose now wouldn't it

  • Newlandsfaithful on December 5, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    Steyn is more than a mere franchise player. He is an ambassador for cricket, recognised internationally as being currently the world's best fast bowler. It is only right that he should spend some time in the great cricketing nation of Australia. Why he should be compelled to play for an obscure franchise like this is unbelievable. If I was him I would shop for another franchise.

  • on December 5, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    Money speaks! Cobras failed to qualify for the Champions League last time and thus "were out of the big money". I think Cobras has the right to say yes and then no, if there is no contract in place. That is how it is in a family too, with parents having the right to interact. Sometimes embarrassing, I agree. It is most unfortunate for Steyn, but that is not the end of the world. Why stress?

  • Rajeev129 on December 5, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Dale shouldn't worry about missing the "only game" in BBL. It is obvious that Brisbane Heat will not get qualified for this season's CL T20 ahead of Melbourne Stars, Sydney Sixers, Scorchers and Hurricanes.

  • nathnnn on December 5, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    It's a shame. I was looking forward to him play at least the opener for the Brisbane Heat.

    That being said I think the fault surely must lie with Brisbane Heat negotiations. If any of the teams that Steyn plays for had the rights to insist that he not play then surely that should have been investigated. It does seem odd that Cricket South Africa don't seem to manage negotiations on behalf of domestic SA teams as well though.

  • CapeMainie31 on December 5, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    Stuff Brisbane Heat! Steyn hasn't played once this season for his HOME team, and they are now in a semi-final; not just a once-off opening game for some money spinning tournament. The Saffas and Cape locals also want to see their hero's play, especially since we thrashed the Aussies in their back-yard! Ha! Go Cobras!!

  • SSRajan on December 5, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Aren't we blaming BCCI for this??

  • TontonZolaMoukoko on December 5, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    How on earth the Cobras are getting any stick for this is beyond me. Steyn is their player and obviously when fit the focal point of their attack so why should they not have him available for a domestic semi final? Much as like the idea of the Champion's League, it's quickly become just another moneymaking opportunity for the world's mercenaries. I'd like to see rules where a) if a player's home team qualify they must play for them and b) a player must have played at least 50% of any qualifying teams 20/20 games in the previous 12 months (barring injury or emerging youth players).

  • peter4135 on December 5, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    I feel for Brisbane Heat ... but looking forward to seeing Steyn in action for the Cobras...hope they include Philander as well. Already got my ticket, can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on December 5, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    If I were Steyn, I'd be having back pain stopping me from playing the semi. That way, they still wont get me and I'll get paid because I'm contracted. But I'm not Steyn. Least we know he's not happy about it either.

  • wanatawu on December 5, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Most of the Preteas are only in name franchise players here in SA, it's probably that plonker Paul Adams idea. Cobras actually have quiet n number of good young bowlers some olders ones like Langeveldt, etc that are still brilliant. They will also have Kleinveldt and Philander back.

  • on December 5, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Politics will cripple the game in our country.

  • on December 5, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Very very poor form., and highly unprofessional. Dale must be suitably embarassed, and I feel sorry for the Heat. Hopefully this never happens again with SA players wanting to perform in the upcoming BBL tournaments. Shameful.

  • Nuxxy on December 5, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Boo Cobras. Steyn hasn't been with you all season and you are still one of the strongest local teams.

  • edgie on December 5, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    I dont understand what the issue is, and why the aussies are so huffy about it. It is the first game of their Big Bash, not even a crucial game like the Cobra's semi-final game, a game that if they loose they are out fo the competition.And before people start talkign about difference in monet and prestige and what-what, he is playing for his home franchise team, and his local supporters also deserve to see him in his home strip. And i am disapointed at Steyn, this is his home team, the team he will run back to when he has an injury or is out of form and all other teams drop him. A little thanks and generosity would sit much better with his local supporters than to alienate them. and besides, he has hardly played for his home team, why not show his support for them than by playing in a crucial game like a semi final, over playing for foriegners who only see you as a wicket taking machine, and not a local hero.

  • on December 5, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    STUFF CAPE COBRAS!! I was looking forward to watch Steyn bowl for Brisbane Heat and now its all spoilt. couldnt they have let Steyn play one match

  • Meety on December 5, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Feel sorry for Steyn, he won't get a chance to play for a Team that might win something at an International event.

  • on December 5, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Several countries are pulling players from this tournament so how about CA stop all australians playing in over seas 20/20 and see how good they go then.

  • Harmony111 on December 5, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Had it been an IPL team or the BCCI that withdrew the permission heavens would have fallen and full scale BCCI/IPL bashing would have started. I will keep an eye on this page to see what sort of comments does the janta here comes up. BCCI got so much flak for not sending its players for the SLPL even when the contracts offered by SLPL were not quite right. My eyes will be on this article.

  • Newlandsfaithful on December 5, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    As a South African and Cobras supporter I feel incredibly embaressed about this situation. The Cobras do not really need Dale Steyn (Kleinveldt should be enough) - and how is he supposed to fly all that distance and still bowl well? It would have been better in the interests of Cricket to allow him to play in Australia. It's just common sense.

  • Nick636 on December 5, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    POOR FORM COBRAS!!!

    That is highly embarrassing from a South African point of view. I agree, in future, rather not agree to let them play at all...

  • Mezz85 on December 5, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    I would suggest getting Tim Southee, as he is close by in New Zealand, is a quality swing bowler and is coming off great form in Sri Lanka.

  • xylo on December 5, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    I can understand if he were called back for a first class match. But this is just stupid.

  • Toreador on December 5, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    Still gotta love Steyn though.

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  • Toreador on December 5, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    Still gotta love Steyn though.

  • xylo on December 5, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    I can understand if he were called back for a first class match. But this is just stupid.

  • Mezz85 on December 5, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    I would suggest getting Tim Southee, as he is close by in New Zealand, is a quality swing bowler and is coming off great form in Sri Lanka.

  • Nick636 on December 5, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    POOR FORM COBRAS!!!

    That is highly embarrassing from a South African point of view. I agree, in future, rather not agree to let them play at all...

  • Newlandsfaithful on December 5, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    As a South African and Cobras supporter I feel incredibly embaressed about this situation. The Cobras do not really need Dale Steyn (Kleinveldt should be enough) - and how is he supposed to fly all that distance and still bowl well? It would have been better in the interests of Cricket to allow him to play in Australia. It's just common sense.

  • Harmony111 on December 5, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Had it been an IPL team or the BCCI that withdrew the permission heavens would have fallen and full scale BCCI/IPL bashing would have started. I will keep an eye on this page to see what sort of comments does the janta here comes up. BCCI got so much flak for not sending its players for the SLPL even when the contracts offered by SLPL were not quite right. My eyes will be on this article.

  • on December 5, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Several countries are pulling players from this tournament so how about CA stop all australians playing in over seas 20/20 and see how good they go then.

  • Meety on December 5, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    Feel sorry for Steyn, he won't get a chance to play for a Team that might win something at an International event.

  • on December 5, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    STUFF CAPE COBRAS!! I was looking forward to watch Steyn bowl for Brisbane Heat and now its all spoilt. couldnt they have let Steyn play one match

  • edgie on December 5, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    I dont understand what the issue is, and why the aussies are so huffy about it. It is the first game of their Big Bash, not even a crucial game like the Cobra's semi-final game, a game that if they loose they are out fo the competition.And before people start talkign about difference in monet and prestige and what-what, he is playing for his home franchise team, and his local supporters also deserve to see him in his home strip. And i am disapointed at Steyn, this is his home team, the team he will run back to when he has an injury or is out of form and all other teams drop him. A little thanks and generosity would sit much better with his local supporters than to alienate them. and besides, he has hardly played for his home team, why not show his support for them than by playing in a crucial game like a semi final, over playing for foriegners who only see you as a wicket taking machine, and not a local hero.