Du Plessis barred from Somerset move
Faf du Plessis has been asked by Cricket South Africa not to play for Somerset in the Friends Life T20. He will now stay at home and play for South Africa A against Sri Lanka A and join South Africa's Twenty20 tour to Zimbabwe.
"The period that Somerset want him for is when we have some tours of our own," Mohammad Moosajee, South Africa team manager, told ESPNcricinfo. "Faf features in the selectors' plans for those tours so it would not be possible for him to go."
Du Plessis has played 21 ODIs for South Africa and is currently taking part in the IPL, having been signed by Chennai Super Kings for $120,000 in 2011. He will also play for South Africa A against Sri Lanka A in June before South Africa's T20 side travel to Zimbabwe for an unofficial tri-series that also features Bangladesh.
The loss of du Plessis is another blow to Somerset's plans for the Flt20. They signed Albie Morkel and hoped to bring in Chris Gayle as a second overseas player. But Gayle reneged on his deal and agreed to be available for West Indies' ODI series against England, potentially making his international comeback after more than a year's absence.
Morkel, who will not be part of the four-day matches against Sri Lanka A, has been given the green light by CSA to play for Somerset. If Morkel is selected for South Africa's T20 squad to tour Zimbabwe, though, Moosajee said Somerset would have to release him for that period.
Along with losing Gayle, Somerset have a string of injuries with captain Marcus Trescothick out with an ankle injury and only 12 fit players available at the moment. They were forced to cancel a second XI match with Gloucestershire this week due to a lack of players.
Somerset were also asked by CSA to limit the workload of Vernon Philander, the South African bowler who has taken 18 wickets in four first-class matches.
Brian Rose, Somerset's director of cricket, said he "thought there was a possibility" that du Plessis would be barred from joining them. "We're still exploring the market but I think I must have run over a whole road of black cats." Along with Trescothick, Somerset are currently without bowlers Adam Dibble, Gemaal Hussain, Steve Kirby and batsman Jos Buttler.
Somerset will keep a close eye on Pakistan's potential series against Australia. It will no longer be hosted by Sri Lanka and if the tour is postponed, players may become available for the second half of the season.