With the domestic cricket season set to begin, there are talks of allowing foreign players to participate in domestic tournaments. Would it be the right move?
Sports journalist and commentator Ayaz Memon said there is no aggressive approach to get foreign players.
“Why can’t we get foreign players to play domestic cricket? More people will watch these matches if teams have foreign players,” Memon said.
Memon, along with columnist and sports commentator Chandresh Narayanan, was participating in Boom News’s show #Cricket-O-Mania.
Narayanan was of the view that while the idea is good in theory, it would be difficult in practice. “I would vote for getting players from associate countries. The saddest part in all this is that nobody has the energy to play the longer format of the game.”
Memon said cricket associations spend any where between Rs 26-33 crore per annum. “So, money cannot be an issue. For example, the Mumbai Ranji team can pay to get foreign players.”
The problem, he said, is that the international cricket itinerary is getting packed. “Introduction of professionals ensured the survival of English county.”
He also had a suggestion: “Top Indian players must play domestic cricket. Australian and England boards ensure that top players play enough domestic cricket.”
Narayanan made another point: “A top batsman and fast bowler to a Ranji side can make a lot of difference. A certain Kevin Pietersen was first spotted in India in 2003-04 when BCCI alllowed foreign players in Duleep Trophy.”
He, however, added that what is needed is “change in thought and ensure that test cricket is the pinnacle. The biggest boon for Indian cricket would be big guns of India playing domestic cricket. For example, Indian captain M S Dhoni has not played for Jharkhand/Bihar since 2005.”
Memon agreed with Narayanan and said rigour in domestic cricket has to be “far, far better. Money, apart from the challenge of playing in Indian conditions, can be attractions for foreign players. I think it is time for our cricket associations to do some kind of adventurism.”