Reports: BCCI to disallow Indian players from playing or mentoring in South Africa and UAE league
The BCCI continues to maintain the exclusivity of the IPL when it comes to the fans' favourite active Indian players.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has maintained its longstanding stance of not allowing any of its active international and domestic Indian players to participate in T20 leagues other than its own lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).
There were murmurs of the board changing their decision on this front since IPL's finance players, who own teams in the cash-rich league, have spread their wings and bought sides in the newly launched leagues in South Africa and UAE.
All six teams of the South African CSA T20 league and three teams in UAE's International League T20 (ILT20) are bought by IPL's billion-dollar corporate giants.
Aiming to expand their brand in other markets, the franchises would've hoped for a significant boost with Indian players' participation. But they will be disappointed to learn the BCCI is not at all ready to mend its ways in this regard.
No Indian player can represent any of those teams in playing capacity or even as a mentor until he has retired from all forms of the game, including the IPL.
"No Indian player can take part in other leagues" - BCCI
Speaking to The Indian Express, a BCCI official reinforced the board's stance and said no Indian player can take part in other leagues unless he cuts his ties completely with Indian cricket by ending his international, domestic and IPL career.
"It’s clear, no Indian player including domestic players can take part in any other league until he is retired from all forms of the game. If any player wants to take part in these upcoming leagues he can only do so when he cuts off all ties with the BCCI," the official said.
The BCCI functionary clarified that an active Indian international or IPL cricketer can't also mentor a side in other leagues. A statement that would feel like a dent to Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who may have hoped to use their legendary skipper MS Dhoni's face and brand value to establish their franchise in the CSA T20 league.
The official said if Dhoni were to go down that path, "then he can’t play IPL for CSK. He has to retire here first." The remark on Dhoni may remind some of BCCI taking offence to Dinesh Karthik's mere presence inside the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) changing room during a match of Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2019.
Karthik had to unconditionally apologise to the board as his contract required permission from the board for him to even attend a match in a viewing capacity and support the CPL franchise of his ex-IPL owners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
The incident showed how serious BCCI has been to maintain the primacy and exclusivity of the IPL. There was a time the board didn't line up too many T20Is in the calendar to ensure that the Indian fans glue to the IPL to enjoy their favourite stars playing their favourite format. That changed post 2016, with bilateral T20Is fetching a significant portion of the board's income from the broadcasting deal with Star Sports.
But active Indian players taking part in other leagues around the world? That is one change the BCCI seems unlikely to ever warm up to.