ICC looking to allow players to participate in only three domestic T20 leagues a year

The Pakistan and Bangladesh Cricket Boards have already limited the number of NOCs to their players per year.

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The ICC Full members are looking to limited players from participating in the ever mushrooming T20 leagues around the world. They are also looking to stop sanctioning T20 leagues in associate nations.

ESPNCricinfo has information that the majority of Full Members have given an in-principle nod to capping player partaking to no more than three T20 leagues a year.

The chief executives committee (CEC) and the ICC Board discussed the issue at the annual conference in Dublin and in consensus, it was decided that if players participate in any given number of T20 leagues, it will have a severe effect on international cricket. A final decision is only expected at the October round of ICC meetings.

Another issue of associate members hosting T20 leagues was also discussed. At the moment, full members do not require any kind of permission to host T20 leagues; but Associate members require a permit to do so.

If Associate members do not get approval from ICC in future, it may keep them from having top level full member international players in their leagues. A concern of full members is that the T20 leagues in associate nations are started by third parties for the sole purpose of minting money and have no interest in the development of the game.

One can see the growth spurt in such T20 leagues with Abu Dhabi starting their own league in October this year and is in addition to a bigger Emirates Cricket Board T20 league later in the season (as well as the T10 league).

Other nations like Canada, Nepal, and Norway are also having their own T20 league. This spurt of T20 leagues in less known and unlikely nations have created a big concern for ICC.

The key response to any such moves - especially a player cap - will come from FICA (Federation of International Cricketers' Association) and various player associations. FICA has already made it clear that putting a cap on player participation will amount to restraint of trade.

Cricket West Indies (CWI), a board that has been the worst affected with the exodus of players in favor of T20 leagues. They put out a paper which argued, that their "runaway" success could put international cricket in "jeopardy", especially for boards without the financial strength to prevent their players from prioritizing leagues over international cricket.

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Some of the boards themselves have taken a step in limiting their players’ participation. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced that its players would only be allowed to play in two T20 leagues this year, with or without the PSL. In November last year, Bangladesh board had already announced that they will be issuing only two no-objection certificates to their players in a year to play in T20 leagues.

The world’s richest and most powerful board, the BCCI has never allowed its players to participate in any other league apart from its own IPL. Primarily that is to protect the IPL, but it is also to make sure players do not start choosing their own development pathways. To safeguard against the threat the BCCI recently enhanced significantly its contracts for international players as well as the pay structure for domestic cricketers.

But with players increasingly choosing formats to maintain their workload and even foregoing national contracts in order to play T20 leagues around the world, means that the cricket boards have now realized that they need to protect their biggest asset- the player.


By Jatin Sharma - 02 Jul, 2018

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