T20 World Cup: That would mean Test cricket would be finished, says Dravid on allowing Indian players in overseas leagues

India head coach Rahul Dravid said that although playing abroad in franchise T20 leagues may bring its own advantages, it could lead to Test cricket being finished from the country’s cricketing system.

While the Indian cricketers feature in the IPL as well as in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in the domestic circuit, England have used franchise T20 competitions to their advantage apart from the T20 Blast and The Hundred.

Apart from participating in the IPL, England’s players have also played in Pakistan Super League (PSL), Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL), Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and many other competitions.

Four of England’s players, leg-spinner Adil Rashid, opener Alex Hales, fast-bowling all-rounder Chris Jordan and batter Phil Salt had previous extensive experience of playing T20 matches at Adelaide Oval, thanks to their stints with BBL while playing for Adelaide Strikers.

“Sure, there’s no doubt about it the fact that a lot of their players have come here and played. In this tournament, it certainly showed. It’s tough. I think it’s very difficult for Indian cricket because a lot of these tournaments happen right in the peak of our season. “

“It’s a huge challenge for us. Yes, I think a lot of our boys maybe do miss out on the opportunities of playing in a lot of these leagues. It’s really up to the BCCI to make that decision. But the thing is it’s right in the middle of our season, and with the kind of demand there would be for Indian players, if you allowed all the Indian players to play in these leagues, we would not have a domestic cricket,” said Dravid in the post-match press conference after India lost to England by ten wickets in semi-final of Men’s T20 World Cup.

Further explaining on how a move like this would affect longform cricket in India, Dravid remarked, “Our domestic trophy, our Ranji trophy would be finished, and that would mean Test cricket would be finished. I know a lot of people talk about it, but we have to be very careful. We have to understand the challenges that Indian cricket faces or the BCCI would face in a situation like this.”

“You’d see all our boys, like a lot of boys being asked to play leagues right bang in the middle of our season. We’ve seen what that’s done to West Indian cricket, and I would definitely not want Indian cricket to go that way. It would certainly affect our Ranji trophy; it would affect Test cricket. Indian boys playing Test cricket is pretty important for the Test game, as well, I would think.”

On the future of senior players in the T20I squad with the next edition of the tournament happening in West Indies in 2024, Dravid felt it was too early to say anything on this just after the semifinal loss.

“These guys have been terrific performers for us. Yeah, like you said, we have a couple of years to reflect on it. There’s some really good quality players here, so absolutely not the right time to talk about this stuff or think about this stuff right now. We’ll have enough games, enough matches as we go on ahead, and India will try and build and prepare for the next World Cup.”

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