Amidst growing concern about the state of Indian T20I cricket and the squad’s apparent inability to pull off victories in major tournaments, there has been a call amongst the cricket fraternity to allow Indian players to participate in foreign leagues.
With the number and quality of players unable to even make into the consideration of the BCCI for a spot in the senior squad, it appears as common sense to some people to allow the plethora of Indian talent to ply their trade overseas in the number of T20 leagues that have popped up.
This, they feel, will allow Indian players to gain valuable experience and also learn to cope with the kind of pressure that will be on them in the big tournaments. In response to the argument that the commerciality and glamour of T20 leagues will lead to questionable prioritisation among India’s players, it has been suggested that no league could even compete with the sort of economic power the BCCI currently possesses, and such a scenario would not arise at all.
However, former India coach Ravi Shastri and former pacer Zaheer Khan have taken a position similar to what current head coach Rahul Dravid said. They felt that there was perhaps no pressing need for Indians to play abroad and that we should focus on building up the quality of our own domestic leagues.
Tom Moody, Anil Kumble, and Stephen Fleming all felt that India should rethink their stance on allowing their players to play in other leagues.
When asked about this after the game, Dravid acknowledged that some England players may have had an advantage due to their Big Bash League experience in gauging the Adelaide surface better. The majority of these T20 competitions, he added, take place during India’s domestic season, making it challenging for Indian players to play in foreign leagues. Additionally, given the sort of positive reputation, Indian athletes enjoy the world over, their involvement can be detrimental to domestic cricket.
Zaheer, a longtime member of the Mumbai Indians coaching staff who was recently promoted to the position of global head of cricket development by the organisation, said India had adequate resources to generate players who could perform well in any situation and at any level.
“I don’t see any other reason right now for players to go and play in a particular tournament. What you have domestically right now is also a robust structure. So why depend on others?
We have more than enough means for producing good players. And you look at our bench strength as well, you can virtually play three line-ups, and they will be able to compete at any level.”
Shastri spoke about the increasing number of India ‘A’ tours over the last few years, and opined that Indian players should focus on those, the IPL, and other domestic tournaments, instead of playing overseas T20 leagues.
“There is enough domestic cricket for all these players to get absorbed in the system and get an opportunity. Plus, you get these India A tours, you get a lot of these other tours, where at one given time you might have two Indian teams playing in the future, where the opportunity will come for the other lot to go somewhere else whilst India is in another country – to go play and see what you know they can do.”Shastri said.
“So there’s no need [to play in overseas leagues], they’re absolutely fine playing IPL cricket and focusing on domestic cricket. We need them to play domestic cricket in India as well.”the former head coach concluded.