CHENNAI: As Cricket South Africa (CSA) officially confirmed that IPL franchises owners have bought the ownership of all six teams in its new T20 league set to be played in January 2023, the focus shifts to the upcoming Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) annual general meeting. There are indications that several member boards are requesting Indian players’ participation in their respective domestic T20 leagues, and the BCCI will discuss the issue at the AGM, which most likely will happen in September.
On Wednesday, the CSA announced the six new teams that will compete in the T20 league and coincidentally all happen to be owners of the IPL franchises. And they are: Reliance Industries Limited (Cape Town), Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (Johannesburg), RPSG Sports Private Limited (Durban), Sun TV Network Limited (Port Elizabeth), Royals Sports Group (Paarl) and JSW Sports (Pretoria).
That all the teams have been acquired by IPL franchises isn’t surprising as some of them have been keen on making their brand global. Kolkata Knight Riders, who incidentally stayed away from the tournament, already have a team in Caribbean Premier League and Major League Cricket (US). Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals too have a team each in the CPL. Mumbai Indians too have bought up a team in the UAE League.
According to IPL franchises, some of the county teams are also keen on having a tie-up, but these are still in the early stages. With the IPL owners making their imprints in most of the top leagues, the Big Bash and The Hundred are the only exceptions as of now, one question lingers. How long will the BCCI keep Indian players away from such tournaments?
It is understood that in a recent meeting with the other member boards with regards to the Future Tours Programme, the BCCI sought an extended window for the IPL from 2024. While ICC has also granted one, it is learnt that some of these boards’ negotiated with the BCCI about releasing a few Indian players for their T20 leagues. There is an agreement between the BCCI and the franchises that Indian players will be available exclusively only for the IPL. With these franchises owning teams elsewhere, this is bound to be tested along with the pressure from other cricket boards.
According to multiple sources in the BCCI, the issue is likely to come up for discussion at the AGM and if state units are unanimous, players could take part in these leagues as early as Big Bash. But, it is not going to be a straightforward decision. India’s domestic season coincides with the Big Bash, South Africa league. However, in case there are no domestic matches and A team series, the players can be made available for the CPL and The Hundred.
One of the ideas floated is to give NOCs to players who are no longer in the national scheme of things and have a cap. “Like there is a cap for who can become selectors, a similar one can be had for this. A said player shouldn’t have represented India in the last three or five years. Also, there are a lot of players who don’t feature in the Ranji Trophy and if the states have no plan to include them for red-ball, they can be allowed to feature in these leagues,” sources in the know said.
Some of the players who are no longer in the national reckoning have been inquiring about the potential of playing in other leagues with BCCI officials in private. With income also paying a big part in this, in case all parties agree, the BCCI may allow players to feature in either one or at the most two leagues per year.