Richard Pybus, the Titans coach, has urged Cricket South Africa (CSA) to ensure South African players turned out for the country's franchises in the Champions Twenty20 League instead of the teams they represented in the IPL. Two Titans players, Albie and Morne Morkel, are expected to represent their respective IPL teams - Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals - in the first edition of the league, to be held in India from December 3-10.
"It is totally ridiculous," Pybus said at a function in Centurion. "How can you allow two South African players to represent other teams? It's like Manchester United allowing two of their players to play for Barcelona in the Champions League," he said. "Albie and Morne are Titans players first, South African players second, and only then do other considerations come into play.
"The cricket authorities in this country are here to guarantee that they play for the Titans. As far as I am concerned, they are going to play for the Titans, and that is that."
Albie's big-hitting and medium-pace bowling make him a valuable player in the Twenty20 format. "I'm expected to play for the [Chennai] Super Kings, Morne is involved with the [Rajasthan] Royals," he said. "It's a mess. Obviously I am a South African and I would like to play for the Titans. But we will have to see what happens."
Pybus felt it was still unfair on the South African allrounder. "This is putting him in a terribly difficult position. It is not about the money," he said. "Albie has not been making claims or trying to influence the negotiations. But the thing is that if CSA wants to keep its cricketers here, it is going to have to take steps to ensure they can't be taken away.
"The world cricket scenario has changed extremely quickly since the first world Twenty20 championship in South Africa last year...There is a lot happening and an awful lot of money is being pumped into the game.
"There were IPL scouts at the recent Emerging Players series between Australia and South Africa, looking for new talent to sign up. We have to get on the bandwagon quickly to make sure we share fully in what is going to be a tremendously exciting period for cricket."
Titans chairman Andy O'Connor said talks were still going on between CSA and Indian officials. "We want Albie Morkel and we'll do everything in our power to have him in our team," he said.
The tournament, with US$6 million at stake for the winners, will see South Africa's Pro20 finalists last season, the Titans and Dolphins, vie for the prize alongside Rajasthan and Chennai from India, Victoria and Western Australia from Australia, Middlesex from England and Sialkot Stallions from Pakistan. For the South African franchises, there's also a 200,000-rand (approximately US$18,000) incentive for the team that finishes higher in the rankings.