One of the ways in which Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has kept the Indian Premier League (IPL) head and shoulders above all other competing T20 events around the world is by prohibiting Indian players from participating in them, at least the male ones.
So, while the whole world sends players to India for the annual IPL, no Indian player is seen participating in events like the Big Bash League (BBL) of Australia, T20 Blast of England or the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) of West Indies.
But now, one prominent, if out of favour Indian player, Irfan Pathan, has decided to put his name among the players in the CPL draft. But the all-rounder is yet to get a No-objection Certificate (NOC) from BCCI. This means that the board may take action against the Indian cricketer for proceeding forward without attaining clearances.
Possible consequences of Pathan's decision
In 2007, when an unofficial league called Indian Cricket League (ICL) was launched by Zee Group, the Indian cricket board decided to blacklist all the players who took part in it and launched IPL as a response. The ICL disappeared after two years due to lack of popularity and eventually, many of the players who were part of the league were allowed to rejoin the Indian cricket fraternity.
Interestingly, Irfan's brother Yusuf also wanted to play in an overseas T20 league in Hong Kong couple of years ago but was denied the permission by BCCI. So, the question arises: Will Irfan face disciplinary action also? Could he get blacklisted as well? Considering Irfan seems to be well past his prime and is now into commentary as well, perhaps the Baroda cricketer has already prepared himself for this eventuality. But it would still be interesting to see how the current BCCI, functioning under the Committee of Administrators (CoA) behaves. Will they be forgiving or stern?
All this while, Indian female cricketers have participated in foreign leagues and have achieved great success and experience. In fact, Harmanpreet Kaur credited her experience of Women's BBL for her improved performances in 2017. Last year, Smriti Mandhana emerged as the most successful batswoman in the English KIA Super League event.
But the ban on male cricketers continues as of now. Only the retired players have participated in foreign leagues and that too, in privately owned ones, not those launched by official boards.