CSA clears contracted players for Pro20 series

Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Neil McKenzie, Johan Botha, Herschelle Gibbs and Albie Morkel will get to represent their respective franchises during the ongoing Standard Bank Pro20 series after being released by Cricket South Africa. Barring injury concerns, the players will feature in the Twenty20 tournament from the final preliminary round onwards.

However, fast bowlers Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn, who had a heavy workload during the Australia series, as well as allrounder Jacques Kallis will get to play only if their teams reach the February 20 final. AB de Villiers has been cleared to play the semi-final and final.

The South African board's decision to release its contracted players follows talks with the CSA medical committee, sponsors and the franchises. The board had decided last September to make contracted players available on a phased-in basis for domestic competitions.

South Africa's cricketers have been playing virtually non-stop since Kenya arrived for a short tour in October 2008 weeks after the historic triumph in England and the board is concerned some players are beginning to buckle under the workload. CSA chief executive Gerald Majola has acknowledged "the great demands that the 2008-09 season has placed on our national cricketers", adding that "the stresses and strains of international cricket have resulted in an increasing number of injuries".

"We have already had injuries to Graeme Smith, Monde Zondeki, Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher during the Australia series resulting in their returning home for treatment and rehabilitation," Majola said. "In addition a number of other players suffered less debilitating, but nevertheless significant, injuries."

Smith and Boucher will not feature in the Pro20 because of their injuries and the national cricketers who will play in the tournament are going to be closely monitored by the board's medical teams as well as the franchises. South Africa's Australian tour concludes on Friday.