The Eagles have refused to allow Johan van der Wath, the allrounder, to play in the Standard Bank Pro20 semi-final against the Dolphins at Kingsmead due to his links to the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
van der Wath played for the Mumbai Champs and the ICL World XI in the recently-concluded second season of the ICL. Though Cricket South Africa (CSA) has refused to recognise the ICL, Norman Arendse, the CSA president, had earlier said it was up to the franchises, rather than the board, to decide whether their ICL players could play for them. It is understood that the Eagles wanted to pay him on a match-by-match basis instead of handing a contract, to avoid legal problems.
Boetta Dippenaar, the Eagles captain, said he was disappointed at the decision to leave out van der Wath. "We applied for permission at the beginning of this week and didn't hear anything," Dippenaar told Mercury. "We enquired again on Thursday and were told that permission had been denied. It's very disappointing."
Cassim Docrat, the president of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union, the home base of the Dolphins franchise, said they would have protested to the South African board if van der Wath had been allowed to play as two of their players, Dale Benkenstein and Lance Klusener, have been left out after having played in the ICL.
"Our information is that no ICL players are allowed to play domestic cricket," Docrat said. "We have two rebel players, Dale Benkenstein and Lance Klusener, who would have made a big difference to our team, so it would have been unfair if the Eagles had been allowed to play van der Wath."
The Dolphins have made one change to the line-up, dropping the opening batsman Doug Watson for Hashim Amla.