What’s the story?
In what could be a big blow both for the player as well as the team, Indian cricketer Yusuf Pathan’s stint at the Hong Kong T20 blitz next month has been scrapped by the BCCI. The 31-year-old was set to play for the Kowloon Cantons in the competition, but the board have now taken a U-turn, by returning to their previous stand of not giving a No-Objection Certificate(NOC) for players to compete in overseas Leagues.
According to a few BCCI sources, one of the reasons why his stint could not go through was because a few other players also put forth a request of playing in competitions abroad and when such a scenario began to build-up, then the board decided to decline Pathan the opportunity to go and play. Sources also added that Pathan had initially got his NOC to play in the League.
On a condition of anonymity, a BCCI official gave his reasoning on why the board was reluctant to let Indian players participate in overseas competitions.
“Indian players have a brand name. Indian players playing in league will attract Indian viewers. It would also mean that our sponsors too want to invest in other leagues. That is why we will be not allowing any Indian players to be part of any leagues,” the official said.
Other prominent stars like Darren Sammy, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Clarke etc are also likely to be a part of the competition in Hong Kong.
In case you didn’t know
Pathan no longer holds a BCCI contract and was not included in the West Zone squad for the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Mumbai. He last played for India in 2012 and perhaps sensed an opportunity to get back into the reckoning by putting in a good show in the competition could get him back in the fray.
Pathan represents the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League and has been part of two IPL winning campaigns for them, in 2012 and 2014. Along with the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Pathan has played a key role for the franchise in the middle order.
Here’s a video of the fastest IPL fifty struck by Pathan against the Sunrisers Hyderabad during the 2014 season:
Purely from a cricketing perspective, it becomes imperative that the BCCI lets Indian players play in foreign leagues as it would help them get the exposure to overseas conditions. It could have helped a player like Pathan had he been allowed to take part in the League as he could have had the opportunity to put in a good effort and further brighten his chances of making a comeback.
On the other hand, for a player like MS Dhoni, who only plays limited-overs cricket for India, the need to be in touch with the game is vital and that will happen only if he is allowed to play in other competitions around the world.