Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has made a big statement on the growing T20 leagues around the world, saying the franchise domestic leagues are a threat to international cricket.
Expressing his concerns that the many cricketers may opt to become freelance cricketers in the coming years, the veteran South African batsman has stressed the need to find the options where both international cricket and the “powerful” T20 leagues can co-exist.
Du Plessis recently featured in the now-suspended Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) before the tournament was suspended in early May due to rising COVID-19 cases inside the bio-bubble.
He is currently in the UAE to play for the Quetta Gladiators in the remainder of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2021), resuming on June 9 in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking during a virtual media interaction ahead of the PSL 06, Du Plessis said: “T20 leagues are a threat for international cricket. The power of the leagues is growing year by year and obviously, in the beginning, there might be just 2 leagues around the world and now it’s becoming 4,5, 6,7 leagues in a year. The leagues are just getting stronger.”
The 36-year-old further added, “I think it’s important that in future you try and see how it's possible both can co-exist because it becomes a choice moving forward into the future then it can be a real threat for the international game.”
He also feared that international cricket can be overpowered by the domestic leagues in the future, just like soccer, if the guardians of the game don’t take corrective steps now on the T20 leagues.
Du Plessis further opined, “That is a huge challenge. Maybe in 10 years' time cricket will almost be like soccer where you have your world events and in between, you have these leagues around the world where players can play.”
The Proteas star also cited the example of West Indies cricketers like Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo who have become freelance cricketers and that’s a big loss for their national team and it could happen with the other teams as the many cricketers are now looking to play only in the T20 leagues.
He further explained, “If I take someone like myself you go and play 2 or 3 or 4 leagues around the world but I can’t predict the future. There are more and more players, who want to play in T20 Leagues.”
Du Plessis signed off by saying, “West Indies probably is the first team that started doing it. All of their guys moved away from the international team to the T20 domestic circuit. So the West Indian team lost a lot of their key players. It’s starting to happen with South Africa also.”
(With PTI Inputs)