Zaheer and Shastri 'see no reason' for Indian players to play in foreign leagues

Zaheer and Shastri ‘see no reason’ for Indian players to play in foreign leagues

Zaher Khan and Ravi Shastri echoed Rahul Dravidit is views on the fact that there is no need for Indian players to feature in foreign leagues. They insist that with the strong national structure in place, “we should focus on our country rather than looking outward.”
There is a feeling that Indian players, who are not allowed to participate in foreign leagues such as the Big Bash League or the Hundred, are at a disadvantage compared to players from other countries, who experience the format in a bigger range of conditions. The argument gained momentum after India ten-wicket defeat at the hands of England in the semi-finals of the last T20 World Cup.
Some of ESPNcricinfo’s experts for the tournament, Stephen Fleming, Anil Kumble and Tom Moody, were of the opinion that India should reconsider one’s position to let their players participate in foreign leagues.

When the question was put to Dravid after the game, he agreed that some of the England players could have better assessed the dimensions of the pitch in Adelaide, the venue for the semi-final, thanks to their BBL experience. However, he also said that it would be difficult for Indian players to participate in foreign leagues as most of these T20 tournaments are held during Indian domestic season. And given the popularity of Indian players around the world, their participation could have a negative impact on domestic cricket.

Zaheer, who was part of the Mumbai Indians coaching staff for a while and was recently promoted to the role of Global Head of Cricket Development by the franchise, felt that India had enough resources to produce good players suitable for all conditions and at all levels.

“I think there’s a lot of process in place. It’s not just about playing franchise cricket, it’s about going to different countries to learn things. It’s something important, and you’ve seen it with BCCI, with their ghost tours, I think those processes are in place,” Zaheer said, in an interaction facilitated by First video ahead of India’s first T20I against New Zealand in Wellington on Friday.

“I don’t see any other reason at the moment for players to go and play in a particular tournament. What you have now at national level is also a solid structure. So why depend on others? We have more than enough means to produce good players And you also look at our bench strength, you can virtually play three formations, and they will be able to compete at any level.

There has been an increase in the number of India A tours over the past few years, and Shastri was of the view that the players were getting enough exposure to domestic cricket, the IPL and on these tours.

“There is enough domestic cricket for all these players to be absorbed into the system and given an opportunity,” Shastri said. “Also you get these India A tours, you get a lot of these other tours, where at some point you might have two Indian teams playing in the future, where the opportunity will arise for the other batch of go somewhere else while India is in another country – to go play and see what you know they can do.

“So there is no need [to play in overseas leagues], they play IPL cricket perfectly and focus on domestic cricket. We also need them to play domestic cricket in India.”

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