Why BCCI should start sending their cricketers to franchise-based leagues across the world
Franchise-based leagues are currently the toast of the town. Right from IPL to Bangladesh Premier League, almost every permanent ICC member hosts a franchise based league in a year.
These leagues are a great source of entertainment for the fans and a great exposure for the players around the world. Players from various nations ply their trade in several leagues in a calendar year but one thing that is noticeable is that players from India are only seen in the IPL.
Despite some of the Indian players having time to play in these leagues, owing to some reasons they stay away from these leagues. But one must wonder how much Indian players can benefit if they start to play in leagues besides the IPL. There are multifarious benefits for Indian players if they play in foreign leagues and BCCI should ponder about sending its cricketers to franchise-based leagues across the world.
Why BCCI doesn’t allow its players to play in foreign leagues
The BCCI has made sure that Indian player’s involvement in domestic T20 matches is only restricted to the IPL. The fact that 10% of the overseas cricketers’ contract with their respective IPL franchises go to their cricket boards, has allowed BCCI to keep the lure of foreign T20 leagues away from the Indians. The foreign cricket boards do not approach the Indian players as a result of the diplomacy employed by the BCCI.
Though BCCI hasn’t made it illegal for its players to play in foreign leagues but it is virtually impossible for them to play in those leagues because BCCI never grants them the requisite NOC. There have been reports of Indian players being approached by Bangladesh Premier League teams, but all these players haven’t been allowed by BCCI to go and play abroad.
It seems a highly short-sighted decision from the most powerful board in cricket. In order to prevent its players from being lured away by foreign leagues, it is snatching away from them the benefits they will get by playing in them. No doubt BCCI is doing more harm than good to its players with its decision.
Playing in away leagues makes alien conditions not so alien
India’s Achilles heel in the last few years has been their performances on away tours. In tests as well as ODIs, they have struggled to provide competition to home teams, let alone win the series. We have all seen players like David Warner, David Miller and Shane Watson take full use of IPL and hone their skills on alien conditions which in turn has helped them in their international careers.
If Indian players start playing in foreign leagues they will achieve immense benefits and one of them is making alien conditions similar to home. They’ll get used to the alien conditions as they’ll play in leagues other than IPL. They won’t find the swing of England as difficult as they do now, they will not get bounced out in Australia and South Africa as often as they do now.
Players can improve their skill-set
Players like Suresh Raina who are not part of the Indian test setup and have the time to play in leagues around the world can improve their game by playing in franchise based leagues across the world. If Raina can improve his game against short balls by playing in these leagues, BCCI won’t regret its decision one bit.
The biggest problem with the left-hander is his technique against short balls which puts him in a tangle when short deliveries are bowled against him and this can improve if he gets adequate match practice on bouncy conditions. Playing in foreign leagues can be a step in the right direction for him.
Also, there are various talented youngsters in the Indian setup who sometimes struggle to bridge the gap between domestic and international setup. If these players play in competitive leagues around the world before their international debut, they will be better prepared to handle the rigors of the international game.
Young Indian batsmen will get to face raw pace in these leagues and they will not feel out of place when they enter international setup and face genuine fast bowlers. The young bowlers will be used to reverse sweeps and Dil-Scoops even before they bowl their first ball in T20 internationals and thus they will be better prepared to face the challenge when they play for India.
The biggest difference between domestic and international cricket is the pressure of representing your country. Though it cannot be fully replicated in T20 leagues around the world but still they can provide a taste of that pressure.
Though Indian players face immense pressure in the IPL but they are still in the comfort of home conditions. Once they play in away leagues without the comfort of home conditions, they’ll be much more used to international game pressures.
It seems a no-brainer that BCCI should allow its players to play in leagues other than IPL. It should start looking at the various benefits its players will achieve once they start playing their trade in leagues across the world.