In the evening hours of the auspicious day of 15th August, 2020, we were greeted with the saddening news of our beloved Captaan Mahendra Singh Dhoni, announcing his departure from International Cricket and if this news was not sad enough already, Suresh Raina also followed the steps of his erstwhile captain and announced his retirement too, at the age of 33.
Although, Dhoni and Raina will still be active on the Cricket Field as players because of their commitments to the Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Chennai Super Kings, but we desire to watch them more in action, don’t we? So, is there a way?
Well it turns out that there is actually a way! Usually the BCCI doesn’t let their contracted players to participate in other T20 leagues around the world, the official reason for which is stated to be injury concern of the players and their possible subsequent absence for the National Team when called upon. However on the flipside, the real reason is believed by many, to be the motivation of the BCCI, to try keep its marquee players reserved to its own league (i.e IPL) to maintain its novelty.
Although, Dhoni and Raina are now entitled to take part in other leagues around the globe by procuring a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BCCI, which is available to the players who have retired both from Domestic and International Cricket.
Former India batsman and commentator Akash Chopra also reiterated this point in one of his videos from a series titled, “#AskAkash”, on his YouTube channel in which he said, I think they should be allowed [to play in other leagues] because if they have retired and if they are not presenting themselves for selection in the Indian team, then there should be no harm in letting them go.”
Around 3 months back, Suresh Raina, in an interview with former Indian Cricketer, Irfan Pathan, said, “BCCI should allow the players who do not have any of the BCCI’s contracts, to play in overseas domestic leagues, in addition to IPL.” Suresh Raina added, “Many quality players miss the chance of a comeback because they don’t get many opportunities to exhibit their performance; you have the Indian Domestic Leagues which do not serve a similar level of competition as International Cricket does, and then you have IPL, where if you fail to perform, you have no other option to choose from; in the contrary, players from other countries play various domestic leagues around the globe, and then comes back into International Cricket with better skills and performance.” Suresh Raina further stated, “If we are allowed to play in other overseas domestic leagues such as Big Bash, which offers a good quality of competition, we will be able to learn a lot of new things, and will certainly return as a better version of ourselves.”
Around the same time period, Akash Chopra released a video on his youtube channel, under the series which is named, “#OpenMic”. A bunch of Cricket Experts are presnted with the question, “Why can’t Indians play in Overseas T20 Leagues?” Following are their comments:-
“If the players want to play in other overseas domestic leagues for the sake of improving their skills, then alright, they may do so, but if they have a motive of playing in other leagues for money, then that’s not even a question, BCCI pays them enough.”
“As long as other overseas domestic leagues do not clash with India’s own domestic season, the Indian players should be allowed to present themselves in those leagues, as those leagues will help them become better as a player.”
“Players who have central contracts from the BCCI should not play in overseas leagues. Having said that, the players who do not have any central contract, should participate in overseas leagues as it will infact help them get in form and become a bigger asset for BCCI.”
“Yes, the Indian players should be allowed to participate in overseas leagues, but their participation should be subjected to a condition, that the quality of the domestic leagues in India shall not go down.”
So will the BCCI let these two stalwarts of cricket be the true ambassadors of this sport? Only time will tell us, but in the meanwhile we fans surely can dream of seeing the iconic No.7 on a Sydney Sixers shirt.