It is a well-known fact that the BCCI does not allow its players to play in overseas T20 and T10 cricket leagues. At the most, they can participate in international tournaments and leagues pertaining to first-class and List A matches but anything beyond this is currently not acceptable. However, a strong case is to be made as to why this rule should be discarded and allow Indian cricketers to participate in international leagues.
Players can Benefit from International Experience
As things stand, the cricketers in India can play in domestic leagues and tournaments, the Indian Premier League, and of course, represent the nation in the India International Cricket Team.
Of this, it is the IPL and the international matches with other countries that bring the players much-needed exposure and knowledge to improve their game. Not only do they get to experience a different style of cricket – could be Australian or English – but they also get to understand and benefit from team-building exercises.
By mingling and playing with international players on foreign soil and under different conditions, there is a lot one could learn. They become versatile and adaptable.
Case in point, West Indies. They won the T20 World Cup in 2016 in India. Of the 11 players competing in the final, 8 of them had already played in the IPL in the past. Some of the big names include Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, among others.
Similarly, the English team that reached the final had Eoin Morgan, who has had his fair share of playing in the IPL with Indian players, on Indian turf. The same holds good for players from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa too.
Obviously, Indian players can also benefit in the same vein. Should they be allowed to play in international leagues like the Big Bash League, they can pick up new skills and up their game to a level expected by the fans. Even within the ambit of online betting, punters in India can now look toward following international leagues more religiously to make smart bets.
As for the leagues themselves, they will benefit from increased popularity and viewership.
So the question now arises – why has it not been done already?
A Monetizing Opportunity
Cricket is nothing short of a religion in India; more than a billion people follow it. Hence, in many ways, Indian players are like cash cows – the moment they associate with a league, they will inadvertently promote it and take their loyal fan base there.
BCCI is not too keen on this idea. After all, they stand to lose its monopoly on the IPL, which is currently dubbed as the biggest and most popular T20 league in the world. It is for this reason that current rules dictate players to play only in foreign List-A and first-class leagues – because they are not that popular.
But this is not to say things cannot change. BCCI can allow Indian cricketers to play in overseas tournaments by carving out opportunities and business deals with the respective leagues. Whether it is in terms of increased viewership or sponsorship/advertising deals, there are ways in which this can be a win-win situation for all parties involved.
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