Three South African players will attempt to play in the inaugural Masters Champions League without signed NOCs from their national body, Cricket South Africa. Richard Levi, Rory Kleinveldt and Robin Peterson have all been denied NOCs because the MCL clashes with South African domestic fixtures. A fourth player, Alviro Petersen, also did not receive an NOC, and will not be traveling to the UAE because he is contractually bound to play for Highveld Lions, his South African franchise.
Petersen tweeted his situation on Monday. "Its with regret that I announce that @HighveldLions CEO & Board denied me an NOC to play in @MCL2020UAE . My team mate Mc Kenzie got his NOC."
Petersen retired from international cricket in January 2015 but remains contracted to the Lions franchise, for whom he scored a double-hundred in the most recent round of first-class matches. For any player to receive an NOC, their franchise has to agree and then apply to CSA for a final signature. The Lions' CEO Greg Fredericks told ESPNcricinfo that they chose not to do this after discussions with the coach and selectors in which they decided the franchise needs Petersen for upcoming fixtures.
McKenzie has a different and smaller agreement with Lions, which will expire at the end of the 2015-16 summer. He only played in the List A competition this season after retiring from first-class cricket at the end of last season. Although that tournament is yet to conclude, the Lions have deemed him surplus to requirements, paving way for his NOC.
The situation with the Levi, Kleinveldt and Peterson is different. None of them have publicly announced their retirement from international cricket but an insider told ESPNcricinfo that all of them have written to CSA to state that it is not their intention to play international cricket anymore.
Their franchise, the Cobras, applied to CSA for their NOCs but CSA has refused to grant them because they felt the players are needed in the domestic competition.
Levi is a Kolpak player who has a contract with the Cobras under which he is bound to play for them in the T20 competition and the play-offs of the one-day cup. His contract also contains a clause that he will be released for one T20 league, should an opportunity arise. He chose the MCL ahead of the PSL. While the T20 competition is already over in South Africa, the playoffs for the one-day cup take place at the end of February and do not clash with the MCL.
Kleinveldt and Peterson, who last played for South Africa in 2013 and 2014 respectively, are also contracted to the Cobras and have been playing across all formats for the franchise. A source revealed that CSA refused to release them because, "it's important that the strength of the domestic game is looked after." While Peterson and Levi are already in the UAE, Kleinveldt is expected to travel on Tuesday.
The MCL may still refuse to allow these players to take part in the tournament without a signed NOC from CSA.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent