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South Africans to miss first four IPL games

The South African cricketers selected by the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises will lose part of their treasure chest after they decided to fly back home at the conclusion of the ongoing Test series to take part in the final stages of the Standard Bank Pro20.

The likes of Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini will now be available for the semi-finals and finals of the domestic competition, and will enter the IPL fray only after April 25. As a result, most of them will miss four games.

The news comes three days after Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said the members of the Cobras side would stay back in India for the start of the IPL. He said the Titans players could also follow suit.

However, Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa (CSA), confirmed to Cricinfo that the South Africans would be available for IPL only after the first week of the tournament. "That was always the arrangement," Majola said.

Charu Sharma, the chief executive of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, told Cricinfo that the franchise was yet to receive any official information. Bangalore, who play their first match on April 18, have Kallis, Boucher and Steyn and will be the most affected. The Chennai Super Kings will lose Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel but VB Chandreshekar, who oversees cricket operations, said the team was always expecting this situation, especially after Majola's visit to Chennai last month.

The decision, made in consultation with Majola, was taken on Wednesday night, and the players will now fly home, via Dubai, at the conclusion of the Kanpur Test.

Under the terms of their contracts, the players could end up forfeiting more than 25 percent of what they would otherwise have earned during the IPL season. Kallis, signed by the Royal Challengers for $900,000 stands to lose more than $200,000. As things stand, he and Smith, who are team-mates at the Cape Cobras, will now miss their first head-to-head confrontation, when the Royal Challengers take on the Rajasthan Royals at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 26.