Fielding 7 Indians in playing XIs in ISL encouraging: Bachchan

Allowing clubs to field seven Indian players in their playing XIs during the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season will encourage the local talent and “provide a platform to more” young footballers to showcase their skill on the big stage, feels Chennaiyin FC (CFC) co-owner Abhishek Bachchan.

The increase from the current six to seven Indian players will mean a spot less for foreign players. Now, a maximum of four foreigners can be picked in the XIs, as the new player selection guidelines of the Football Sports Development Limited, the ISL organisers, come into play.

“This isn’t a surprise; this is something the ISL always intended [to do]. The quest was always to give Indian talent that much opportunity to showcase talent on the pitch. I’m glad this decision has been taken because it pushes us to really encourage Indian lads to get out there and give their best,” Bachchan said on Wednesday.

“Indian boys have always managed to shine, if you see the kind of new Indian footballers coming through the ISL. The current Indian side that is playing the World Cup qualifiers [in Doha], there’re so many new faces over there, young boys and one of the youngest squads you see in the longest time (sic). It’s very encouraging and that’s part of the quest of ISL as well.”

Chennaiyin players Lallianzuala Chhangte and Anirudh Thapa are among the young footballers who are currently part of the Indian side.