Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, has said that Andre Nel will continue to play for the country and denied reports that he is planning to quit international cricket after being omitted from the India-bound Test squad. However, Cricinfo has learned that the unofficial Indian Cricket League are in discussions with Nel to sign him up.
Majola told Cricinfo he spoke to Nel on Wednesday after the second one-dayer against Bangladesh in Mirpur and Nel assured CSA he didn't intend to quit. "He told me that he has not quit and does not intend to do so either. The controversy was created by other people, and not Nel," Majola said.
Nel was replaced for the India tour by Charl Langeveldt under CSA's transformation policy, which mandates at least six players of colour in a 14-man squad. Nel was said to be so disappointed that he refused to appear for the post-match presentation ceremony to receive his Man-of-the-Match award after a spirited, match-winning 4 for 27.
Tony Irish, the chief executive of the South Africa Cricketers' Association, told Cricinfo that the SACA and even team captain Graeme Smith was disappointed for Nel.
"I have spoken to Smith about this and like us, he is very disappointed for Nel," Irish said. "But we cannot interfere in selection matters. It is not our business but we hope this situation is resolved amicably."
Irish told Reuters that he hoped Nel "doesn't make decisions about his future in the heat of the moment." He also gave his take on Nel's reported ICL interest. "Any player that wants to join the ICL should consider all the implications because it is removing players from mainstream cricket and could be a dead-end for their career."
Meanwhile, sources in the ICL say they have contacted Nel and are keen to sign him up. CSA sources dismissed this possibility saying that Nel was among the 15 players who had signed a South Africa contract last month, and stands to be sued in case of a breach.
"The allrounder Justin Kemp was also keen to join the ICL last year but didn't do so because he was contracted with us and could have been sued," the sources said. "The contract is up to March every year, and Kemp signed on this time after that."
Nel has not toured India before and has taken eight wickets in his four Tests in the subcontinent. The first Test starts in Chennai on March 26.
Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo in Bangalore