‘We Would Not Have Domestic Cricket’: Rahul Dravid Explains Why Indian Cricketers Aren’t Allowed to Play in Overseas T20 Leagues

How participating in various T20 leagues across the world benefits a player was quite evident from England’s hammering of India in a world cup semifinal on Thursday. A host of England cricketers have the experience of playing in Australia through their participation in the country’s Big Bash League (BBL).

Surely, the familiarity with the Australian conditions helped them in settling and even adjusting to the various venues especially the Adelaide Oval which has shorter boundaries as compared to other stadiums used for the T20 World Cup in the country.

Adil Rashid, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan and Phil Salt (replaced an injured Dawid Malan for India clash) have all represented Adelaide Strikers, a BBL team.

Hales went on to smash an unbeaten 86 to star in England’s dominating chase against India while spinner Rashid shut the doors on the batters earlier and also accounted for the all-important scalp of an in-form Suryakumar Yadav.

Jordan, playing in his first match of the tournament, also performed admirably  taking three wickets to contribute to the win.

Interestingly, BCCI remains the only board that doesn’t allow its contracted players (barring female cricketers) to participate in overseas T20 leagues.

When asked if removing that barrier would put Indian players in a good stead, head coach Rahul Dravid agreed but explained why it would be impossible to do so.

“Sure, there’s no doubt about it the fact that a lot of their (England) players have come here and played. In this tournament, it certainly showed. It’s tough. I think it’s very difficult for Indian cricket because a lot of these tournaments happen right in the peak of our season,” Dravid said during a post-match media interaction.

He added that should the doors be opened, it will prove the death of Indian domestic cricket especially the Ranji Trophy – the country’s premier red-ball competition and a direct impact of that would be on Test cricket.

“It’s a huge challenge for us. Yes, I think a lot of our boys maybe do miss out on the opportunities of playing in a lot of these leagues. It’s really up to the BCCI to make that decision. But the thing is it’s right in the middle of our season, and with the kind of demand there would be for Indian players, if you allowed all the Indian players to play in these leagues, we would not have a domestic cricket,” Dravid said.

He added, “You’d see all our boys, like a lot of boys being asked to play leagues right bang in the middle of our season. We’ve seen what that’s done to West Indian cricket, and I would definitely not want Indian cricket to go that way. It would certainly affect our Ranji trophy; it would affect Test cricket. Indian boys playing Test cricket is pretty important for the Test game, as well, I would think.”

Dravid also advised against speculating the T20I future of senior India cricketers including the likes of captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“These guys have been terrific performers for us. Yeah, like you said, we have a couple of years to reflect on it. There’s some really good quality players here, so absolutely not the right time to talk about this stuff or think about this stuff right now. We’ll have enough games, enough matches as we go on ahead, and India will try and build and prepare for the next World Cup,” he said.

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