IPL Exclusivity Is Why Indian Players Cannot Play Overseas Leagues

By Dhanu Delphi on May 14, 2020

Leading IPL batsman Suresh Raina posed a question to the BCCI last week about getting the board to change their policies regarding Indian players going overseas and playing in their T20 leagues. The left handed batsmen who last played for India in 2018 and is a key cog in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batting line-up wanted permission to be able to play in the Big Bash League (BBL) and Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The current BCCI policy does not allow Indian cricketers to play in overseas leagues. Raina said that fringe players like himself, Yousuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa should be granted permission to play overseas; it would allowed them to make money, play competitive cricket with other overseas players and be ready for IPL.

BCCI Says IPL Exclusivity Clause Cannot Be Dropped

The BCCI allows overseas cricketers to come and play in the IPL as that increases the popularity and appeal of the IPL, making it the richest domestic T20 tournament in the world. However, the BCCI will not allow Indian cricketers to go and play in overseas leagues as it will reduce the popularity of the IPL and boost the popularity of other T20 leagues like the BBL and CPL.

While this comes across as unfair on paper, Indian cricket players have no choice but to comply with these policies. A BCCI official recently addressed Raina’s comments and said that the BCCI had an exclusivity clause in its contracts in order to protect the IPL and also help players bring in a good amount of money during the IPL auction.

The BCCI official who wished to remain anonymous said that the 33 year old Raina is towards the end of his career and wants to make the most of his limited time in playing overseas and making as much money as he can. However, the BCCI’s policy was to ensure that non-contracted players always have an opportunity to command as much money as possible during the IPL auction and exclusivity was the key in accomplishing this.

BCCI Has Options If IPL Star Raina Wants To Play Overseas

The BCCI does not take kindly to players who question or challenge its policies. Suresh Raina is highly unlikely to play for the Indian team again. Vice-captain Rohit Sharma recently claimed that he believes Raina should be playing for India; as he is still an explosive left-handed batsmen, a good fielder and can send some useful overs down.

The BCCI will allow Indian cricketers who retire from international cricket to go overseas and play in T20 leagues. Raina is no longer on the central list of contracts and has the option to retire and go play overseas. However, he is likely still clinging on to the fact that he can make a comeback to the Indian team. Hence the reluctance to retire and play in overseas T20 leagues.

What Happens If A Player Defies The BCCI?

Can a player defy the BCCI and go and play in an overseas T20 league? It is possible but then when they return, they will face sanctions. And that will make their life difficult. One example of this is Pravin Tambe; he was contracted to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Tambe decide to go and play T20 cricket overseas without retiring from the game or getting approval. When he returned, the BCCI immediately took action. The board cancelled his IPL contract with KKR. The BCCI has made it clear it does not want Indian players to play in overseas T20 leagues.

The only time the BCCI encourages players to go and play overseas is in county cricket. Even then, players will have to get a no objection certificate (NOC) from the BCCI.