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T20 WC 2022: Should India players be allowed to take part in overseas T20 leagues?

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022: Should India players be allowed to take part in overseas T20 leagues? Exposure to other T20 leagues like Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Big Bash League (BBL), The Hundred and others hurting Team India players in ICC tournaments?

ICC Men's T20 World cup 2022: Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid during the practice session of T20 World Cup at Melbourne| Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Getty Images)
(Source: ©Getty Images)

As the ball flew over the head of Virat Kohli for a six, Jos Buttler along with his opening partner Alex Hales let out an emotional roar which personified England’s joy at reaching their second final of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the last three editions. For India, it was nothing short of deja vu where they again slipped at the vital juncture of a world event as their wait for an ICC trophy still continues.

Batting first on a rock-solid and good batting surface, India managed just 38/1 in the powerplay before reaching 62/2 at the halfway mark. It could have been a shameful end with the bat, if Hardik Pandya’s hadn’t produced fireworks to help India collect 68 runs in the last 5 overs to finish at 168/6.

The critical difference in the game was effected by the England openers in the powerplay who on the back of their firing partnership helped their team race away to 63/0 in 6 overs which was 1 run more than India’s score after 10 overs. England reached 98/0 at the halfway mark which was just 2 less than India’s total in 15 overs. Unsurprisingly, they finished the chase with four overs to spare.

Let’s take a look at how India’s batting at the top struggled immensely during the whole tournament.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022_ KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to open for India in T20 World Cup _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI)
Rahul, Rohit both underperformed for India in T20 World Cup (Photo: ©BCCI)

India suffered a lot due to slow Rohit-Rahul opening stand in the powerplay

One of the areas which needed a lot of work from India and was widely discussed since their disastrous T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, was going hard with the bat at the top in the powerplay to offer the team a great platform to score freely and post a huge total which would help the bowlers too in defending that total. Since the end of that last World Cup to the start of this one, India’s openers had a partnership run rate of 6.38.

But all of a sudden as the T20 World Cup 2022 arrived, the opening partnership run rate dropped to a measly 4.98 which is the second-lowest for a minimum of three opening partnerships in the world event this year, languishing just ahead of Zimbabwe’s opening pair of Regis Chakabwa and Craig Ervine who combined to produce a partnership run rate of 3.52.

In this World Cup, India passed 40 only once (46/1) during the first six overs. The opening duo of India who scored just 88 runs in 106 balls throughout the tournament.

Without a doubt, in most of the games, India expressed themselves wildly at the back end to put on a huge total but the consistency of this struggle was exposed badly on a flat batting paradise wicket of Adelaide in the semi-final against a team like England, which consists of some powerful smashers of the game, eventually did India in on the big stage.

“I thought we still batted pretty well at the back end to get to that score, but weren’t good enough with the ball; it wasn’t definitely not a wicket where a team could come and chase it down in 16-17 overs,” India captain Rohit Sharma expressed in the post-match presentation.

That brings up a new section of thoughts which suggest that India could think of giving the players a chance to play in the foreign T20 leagues to get used to the conditions better.

ICC Men's T20 World cup 2022_Tom Moody believes India players should play overseas T20 leagues_ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Getty Images)
Tom Moody believes India players should play overseas T20 leagues (Source: ©Getty Images)

Embrace foreign tournament to increase depth of cricket: Tom Moody

Former Australia cricketer, Tom Moody, who has been part of the support staff of quite a few franchisees all over the world, feels that India have benefitted in Test cricket thanks to their players’ participation in county cricket in England. He reckons that this approach could also be used in the shortest format of the game if India’s players were allowed to take part in the various T20 leagues around the world.

“What we’ve seen over recent years is that more and more Indian players get that exposure in county cricket and the benefit that they get with that exposure,” Tom Moody expressed in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“Zaheer Khan is one of the greatest examples of all, Ishant Sharma is also another great example; that exposure of learning about their game, learning about the professionals around them and the volume of cricket that you play there," he added.

With the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 going to be organised jointly in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA), Moody suggested that India could plan giving a few of their players a chance to play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which can help them in understanding the conditions.

“You talked about the lack of depth of Indian batsmen that can bowl; take tournaments like the CPL for example, if you’re using that as a platform, you couldn’t get a batter platform to send six or 12 and have two batting all-rounders per team in that tournament,” Moody suggested that the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will grab India’s top-notch players with both hands.

“And I know that tournament would say with open arms, please bring all of your development players, it doesn’t have to be your contracted players, and use this as a platform.”

Former India skipper and coach, Anil Kumble, agreed with Moody and said that India’s players too can get better by participating in overseas leagues just the way that the Indian Premier League (IPL) has helped them.

“The IPL, where overseas players come in and the kind of changes, we’ve had in Indian cricket has certainly helped; and likewise, if you identify the brand of cricket that we are looking at and then identify these key young players who you believe need that exposure, then why not?” Kumble addressed ESPNcricinfo.

Kumble also stressed on saying that that this team should think of having a flexible approach to batting or the batting order.

Rahul Dravid addressing media; India reach to semi-final of T20 World Cup while Rahul Dravid was coach (Images BCCI)
Dravid believes exposure to overseas t20 leagues may hurt domestic cricket (Images BCCI)

It will certainly affect our Ranji Trophy and Test cricket: Rahul Dravid

The topic of sending the Indian players to the overseas leagues came in the press conference held after India’s humiliating defeat at the hands of England in the World Cup semi-final, when their coach Rahul Dravid was asked whether India had a disadvantage in that particular game because of their zero experience of the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.

“I mean sure, there’s no doubt about it, the fact that England… a lot of players have come here and played,” Dravid acknowledged the benefit England accrued from their players’ participation in the BBL.

But he went on to say that it is actually up to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take a call in this regard. “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 (domestic) season.”

Dravid also warned that allowing all of India’s players to participate in these leagues can spoil India’s domestic structure, stressing that the Ranji Trophy, which is the bedrock of Test cricket set-up of India, could be destroyed.

“I know a lot of people talk about it (no Indians in overseas T20 leagues), but we have to be very careful,” Dravid warned how India could destroy their Test cricket standings, comparing it with the decline of West Indies cricket where there is an immense rise of the culture of mercenary T20 cricketers who participate in leagues around the world.

“We’ve seen what that has 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 games as well, I would think,” the India head coach thumped.

The topic of participation in overseas leagues has been a tricky one in Indian cricket, but it certainly seems to be the need of the hour to bring a change in culture. Proper planning could be done to have a steady pool of players who participate in Ranji Trophy to keep Test cricket healthy. Besides that, a set of players who focus more on T20 cricket could be given a chance to explore options around the world as more exposure will only help make them more ruthless when it comes to top-notch cricket like the World Cup.

The prime example is England: post their horrific 2015 Cricket World Cup debacle, they changed their mindset to power their structure and the results are there for everyone to see. England have reached the final of 2 of the last 3 T20 World Cups and are the reigning world champions in ODI cricket.


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