During an Instagram Live session with Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina expressed his desire to see Indian cricket players being allowed to participate in foreign T20 leagues.
With the coronavirus pandemic slamming the door shut on all but the most essential activities in our society, sportspersons who are normally pressed for time, now have all the time on their hands. This has led to a lot of them opening up on various issues on platforms such as Instagram.
It was during one such session where Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina were discussing the contentious issue of selection that Raina opined that those players with no existing BCCI contracts should be allowed to participate in foreign T20 leagues.
“I feel there are many players, including Yusuf (Pathan), myself, Robin Uthappa, and other quality players who can learn a lot by playing abroad,” stated Raina.
While Raina did not cite any league, in particular, he felt each player should be allowed to play in at least two international leagues. His reasoning behind the suggestion is to improve the overall quality of players.
"Say you're neither playing in the Indian T20 League nor for the national team, then your only option is domestic cricket, where the competition is nowhere near the international level."
Raina raised the issue that there's no 'Plan B' outside of Indian T20 League for Indian players, and were they allowed to play in leagues such as the Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League, and others, the standard of cricket will improve as our players will learn a lot more.
Age is just a number
During the discussion, Irfan Pathan raised the issue of the mindset in India vs that of teams like England, Australia, pertaining to players in their 30s.
"I remember Michael Hussey debuted for Australia at the age of 29 and he retired as one of the greats of the sport," said Pathan, before raising the question of whether someone would be allowed to debut for India at 30.
In conclusion, both men agreed that as long as fitness was not an issue, the players should be given a fair shot regardless of being in their 30s, with Raina citing the examples of players like MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, and Ashish Nehra, who all played successfully well into their 30s.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Arun Sankar