It is well-known that India, being a cricket-crazy nation, produces scores of talented cricketers year after year. Many of them manage to find their way to domestic cricket tournaments and a few climb up the ladder to become a part of the Indian National Cricket Team. While they hone their skills every step of the way, there is a particular ceiling to their potential – as long as they represent India, they cannot play in overseas T20 or T10 cricket leagues.
That’s right, as per the norms laid down by the BCCI, Indian players cannot participate in any international cricket leagues unless they retire from Indian cricket. That said, the players can play in First-Class and List-A matches in other countries since they don’t attract many crowds.
While BCCI may have its reasons to enforce this rule on its players – primarily to ensure that they don’t lose their monopoly on cash-cow competitions like the Indian Premier League, there is a case to be made as to why Indian cricketers should be allowed to play in overseas competitions.
International Exposure Makes it Worth it
Let’s look at it objectively for a second – of the scores of Indian players who participate in the IPL, only a handful of them get to represent India at an international level consistently.
This means for the remaining others, their best chance of improving their game is during the league itself – whether it is interacting with other international players and coaches, or just picking up different tactics and strategies to up their game.
And once the IPL is over, it is back to the same old grind of playing in domestic cups with familiar faces.
Now, let us imagine for a second that these players got a chance to play in overseas leagues – the kind of experience and knowledge they would gain will definitely make them more adaptable and flexible to the sport.
From playing under different conditions and pitch to wide-range interaction with players from all corners of the world, they can take their skills to the next level and become more versatile.
This is precisely what the West Indies did in the first half of this decade – the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, and many more were a consistent part of the IPL. So, it came as no surprise when they won the 2016 T20 World Cup in India – after all, they were already used to the playing conditions!
And it is not just West Indies who benefitted from this kind of exposure – players from Australia, New Zealand, and England too have had their fair share of players in international leagues including the IPL.
Even cricket betting fans can benefit from this kind of a move – with more Indian players participating in international leagues, there is bound to be a surge in following and popularity. Punters can make smarter, more informed bets in such competitions on sites such as 10Cric.
There is a Precedent
A few Indian players have already played in international leagues although, they did so after retiring from Indian cricket. One name that stands out here is the Indian all-rounder and World Cup winner Yuvraj Singh, who has represented the Toronto Nationals in the Global T20 Canada, and Maratha Arabians in the T10 League.
Similarly, we also have the likes of Munaf Patel, Murali Karthik, and Zaheer Khan. All of them have taken the Indian name to countries like the UAE and England. Similarly, Praveen Tambe has plied his trade in the T10 League in UAE and the Caribbean Premier League.
Of course, these players can no longer represent India but there is no reason why the current players can’t follow them. The depth of talent and skills in the current generation can only get better with some overseas playing time. In fact, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina and a few other senior players have urged BCCI to curb this rule but to no avail. Perhaps, this may change in the future.