Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan and out-of-favour batsman Suresh Raina recently urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow a category of Indian players to compete in overseas T20 leagues. As per rules imposed by the BCCI, active Indian cricketers can take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL). In order to participate in foreign T20 leagues, an Indian player must announce international as well as IPL retirement.
On May 9, Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina interacted with each other in an Instagram Live session. The two cricketers spoke about how overseas T20 leagues can help Indian players to make a bid for their comeback to the national team. Citing the names of other out-of-favour but non-retired players like Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu, CSK star Suresh Raina said that players who do not have a contract from BCCI should at least be allowed to play in two different foreign leagues.
Meanwhile, Irfan Pathan cited the example of former Australian batsman Michael Hussey, who made his debut at the age of 29. Pathan was of the opinion that players in India can “never” make their international debut at 30. He later suggested that players who are 30 or above should be allowed to play in foreign leagues like the Big Bash and The Hundred since they are no longer on the radar to play for India.
Some out-of-favour Indian players such as Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh have taken up media or coaching assignments even before they announce their retirement, making this trend quite a favourable option should the BCCI not change this rule in particular.
A similar situation in Indian cricket arose last year when former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh participated in an overseas limited-overs tournament. Singh, who last represented India in 2017, turned up for Mumbai Indians in the 2019 edition of IPL. The 2011 World Cup hero announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in June 2019, thus making him eligible to play in foreign leagues. The all-rounder then played for Maratha Arabians in the 2019 Abu Dhabi T10 League in November.
Suresh Raina represents Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL and was slated to reprise his role in the 2020 edition. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic prompted the BCCI to postpone the tournament until further notice. BCCI President Sourav Ganguly recently stated that there are currently no plans of organising any cricketing activities in the country.