The unavailability of national players in the domestic circuit has left the provincial teams aggrieved, prompting Cape Cobras coach Richard Pybus to appeal to Cricket South Africa (CSA) to give preference to local tournaments, rather than the Indian Premier League.
Pybus said while it was the duty of the players to represent the country first, their unaccommodating attitude when it comes to the demands of the external tournaments like the IPL is unacceptable.
"They can't play in South Africa, but its okay for them to play in India after the New Zealand tour," Pybus told the daily SportsDay.
The coach was reacting at CSA's decision to rest Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn ahead of next month's tour to New Zealand.
"Centrally contracted players are employees of CSA, who need to prioritise how and when they play and how they recover and rest," Pybus said.
Cape Cobras were displaced from the top spot in the SuperSport Series standings by the Titans during the weekend. However, the results may have been different if the team had not been denied the services of some of the top players, including the likes of Smith, Kallis, Duminy, Philander and Steyn.
The Titans missed AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Morne Morkel.
Protease assistant coach Russell Domingo confirmed that some of the players would go straight to India to participate in the IPL after the New Zealand tour, which is scheduled to end on March 27, eight days before the fifth edition of the IPL kicks off.
"Some of them will be home for just two days before they go to India," Domingo said.
Around 29 South Africa players will go under the hammer during the February 4 auction. Ones who already have contracts with IPL franchises include Albie Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Ingram, Smith and Kallis.