#NewsBytesExplainer: Why are Indian players barred from playing foreign leagues?
Indian batsman Robin Uthappa recently expressed his concern after being unable to participate in the overseas leagues. He is not the first Indian cricket to have opined on the long-standing rule. Earlier, his fellow teammates Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan also appealed to the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) to revoke this rule. Let us shed more light on the debate.
What does the rule state?
As per the current rule, any contracted or non-contracted cricketer involved in Indian cricket is not allowed to participate in foreign T20 leagues. The players may feature in First-class or List A cricket, but participation in franchise-based T20 leagues is not permitted. However, BCCI grants No Objection Certificate (NOC) to only those players who have retired from Indian cricket, including the IPL.
Why does BCCI deny NOC to active players?
The Indian cricket board does not want Indian players to run after foreign leagues in quest of money. According to the board, this will bring down the exclusivity of Indian cricket as leagues like Big Bash might become crowd pullers. The BCCI clearly wants IPL to hold an edge over other leagues. Moreover, if players are granted permission, India's domestic circuit could also plunge.
BCCI's take on non-contracted players
Players who do not hold a central contract are also barred from competing overseas. As per the incumbent management, players like Suresh Raina or Robin Uthappa could garner massive limelight, playing in foreign leagues. The influx of T20 leagues could also lure the cricketers to participate in multiple leagues. Notably, these leagues also offer more lucrative deals than that of 50-over and First-class cricket.
The relaxations before 2008
There was no such restriction on Indian players before 2008. In fact, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly made his T20 debut in England's domestic competition, representing Glamorgan. However, the birth of the Indian Premier League reversed BCCI's stance on the rule. Interestingly, Indian women cricketers are allowed to indulge in foreign leagues. The likes of Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana have featured in BBL.
Should players be granted NOCs?
The Indian Premier League is the world's most distinguished T20 league. The BCCI could consider giving NOCs to non-contracted players as it would do no harm to the tournament's reputation. The players who are presently out of contention only get a shot at either IPL or Syed Mushtaq Ali (T20 tournament), in order to make a comeback. Playing overseas could expand their horizon.