County ends IPL speculation March 14, 2008

Morne Morkel will play for Yorkshire

Cricinfo staff

Morne Morkel will play for Yorkshire in the coming county season © Getty Images
Yorkshire have ended speculation over whether South African fast bowler Morne Morkel will play for them this season by confirming that he will honour his contract despite being bought for US$60,000 by the Indian Premier League's Jaipur franchise.

Stewart Regan, the county's chief executive, told the Yorkshire Post that Morkel will play for Yorkshire after issues with Manoj Badale, the owner of the Jaipur franchise, were resolved. "Badale has told me he will respect our pre-existing arrangement with Morne and not look to sign a contract with him for this year. However, Jaipur may look to sign the player for 2009 and 2010."

Regan said that Jaipur "did not realise" that Morkel already had an agreement with Yorkshire when they bought him in the second IPL auction on March 11. Morkel had signed as one of Yorkshire's overseas professionals for the first three months of the upcoming county season, while the IPL will take place between April 19 and June 1. He also revealed that Morkel had not signed a contract with the Jaipur franchise.

However, Jaipur's CEO Fraser Castellino said the Morkel issue needed to be sorted out between the player's agent and the IPL. "If Manoj has said that we will honour Yorkshire's contract, we will do it," Castellino told Cricinfo. "Every player who was picked up at the auctions has come through the IPL. We haven't done any deal on our own. In Morkel's case, we went by the advice of South Africa's skipper Graeme Smith, who is in our team. He told us that Morkel is a player for the future and that he is somebody we need to back. That's why we went for him at the auction."

Yorkshire are now in talks with Mickey Arthur, South Africa's coach, to try to figure out when Morkel will be able to join them - he is included in South Africa's squad for their three-Test series against India. Yorkshire's campaign kicks off on April 20 when they take on Durham in a Friends Provident Trophy match, whereas the final Test against India ends on April 15.

"We're now trying to establish the exact date when Morne will be joining us," Regan said. "Ideally, we would like him to be able to train with the guys for a week or so before the season starts, but it all depends on Morne's involvement in the Test series in India,"