Ever since the Indian Premier League (IPL) got hit, it gave birth to many T20 leagues around the world, but the popularity of IPL is something which fans don’t witness in other domestic T20 tournaments. The biggest reason behind is the involvement of Indian cricketers who don’t play in any other T20 leagues.
Due to the massive fan following, every cricket board wants Indian players to participate in their leagues as they will turn out to be the biggest cash cow for any nation. However, BCCI’s rules do not permit an Indian player, contracted or un-contracted, to play any sort of franchise cricket be it T20 league, T10 league or any other competition outside the country.
Due to BCCI’s regulations many Indian players had to cancel their involvement in other leagues. For instance, in 2019, Harbhajan Singh had to withdraw his name from The Hundred’s draft as he was contracted with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) while Irfan Pathan, who is not associated with the national side since 2013 also had to withdraw from the Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) draft.
However, unlike Bhajji and Irfan, all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and Punjab player Manpreet Gony were given NOCs to play Global T20 Canada and T10 league after they retired from IPL.
Now, the biggest question is why BCCI doesn’t allow its players to play in foreign leagues? Well, that’s because if Indian players take part in any other league then they will promote that particular competition and this is something BCCI does not want. Another reason is that IPL is the biggest T20 league in the world, and if Indian players start participating in other leagues, the lucrative tournament might lose its monopoly.
However, before the inception of IPL, Indian players did take part in England’s domestic T20 leagues. To name a few, former Indian cricketers like Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Mongia and Mohammad Kaif had played in English T20 competition.
In the past several senior Indian players have urged BCCI to permit them to play foreign T20 leagues. The bandwagon started when Suresh Raina, during a conversation with Irfan, advised the nation’s board to allow un-contracted players to play in the international leagues.
“I wish BCCI plans something with ICC or the franchises that Indian players get to play foreign leagues. At least allow us to play in two different foreign leagues. If we play quality cricket in terms of foreign leagues, then it would be good for us. All international players make a comeback by playing in all those leagues,” Raina had said.
Robin Uthappa urges BCCI to allow Indian players to play in overseas T20 leagues
Recently, the power-striker Robin Uthappa said he wants the apex Board to change its ruling on participation in the overseas T20 leagues. He even said that it feels terrible when Indian players are not permitted to play in other leagues.
“Please let us go, honest to God. It does hurt when we’re not allowed to go and play … It would be so lovely if we could go and play at least a couple of others because as a student of the game you want to learn and grow as much as you can,” said Uthappa in an interview to BBC.
Uthappa stated that he is hopeful now as Ganguly is heading the BCCI. He said Ganguly has always thought good for Indian players, so there is hope.
“Ganguly is a very progressive thinking human being, someone who has always looked to take India to the next level. He actually laid the foundation for where India cricket is now. We’re hoping that he will look at this at some point,” the 34-year-old added.