High-time BCCI allows Indian players to participate in foreign leagues
BCCI not permitting Indian male cricketers in foreign leagues has been a long-going debate in the sports fraternity. With the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 by BCCI, many T20 leagues have emerged across the world. Owing to the huge fan following of Indian players, several cricket boards across countries have called for the participation of Indian cricketers in their leagues.
It is quite evident when some of the biggest international cricketers grace the country every year as they play in IPL. However, BCCI’s stringent rules have not permitted active Indian players to participate in T20 leagues of other countries such as Australia, England, and the West Indies. On the other hand, women cricketers are allowed to participate in overseas T20 leagues.
Interestingly, over the past few years, a number of senior players have appealed to the Cricket Board to allow them to compete in foreign leagues such as CPL, BBL, and BPL. Recently, during an online conversation with Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina asserted that BCCI should at least allow un-contracted players to play in overseas leagues. Furthermore, power-strikerRobin Uthappa had also raised suggestions for BCCI to change its rules on the participation of Indian players in the leagues of other countries.
In 2019, ace cricketer Harbhajan Singh had to withdraw his name from the draft of The Hundred which was supposed to take place in England in July 2020, due to his commitment towards IPL’s Chennai Super Kings team. Notably, powerful players such as Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, and Manpreet Gony were able to play in other leagues only after announcing their retirements. As of now, the apex cricket board has 27 players on its central contract roll.
Need for flexibility in BCCI rules
It is important to understand that while competing in overseas leagues, players get a chance to experience foreign pitches. It will not only amplify their potential but will also benefit Indian cricket in the long run as players will get an opportunity to learn from their international competitors and coaches. Lessons can be learned from women cricketers such as Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, and others who, in the absence of a Women’s IPL, have played in Australian and English leagues which have improved hitting abilities and game-sense.
Therefore, it becomes crucial for the cricket board to gradually bend its reforms to allow players to have a taste of foreign leagues. If not the creamy layers, the remaining players could be permitted to explore the opportunities provided by overseas leagues.
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