File photo of Ravi Shastri
Former India coach Ravi Shastri believes the mushrooming T20 leagues around the world will eventually hurt bilateral cricket, especially the ODI format with the franchises inclined towards handing long-term contract to players. Shastri insisted that cricket is slowly going football’s way and in future the players would only be interested in playing world events.
“I have always said that the bilateral cricket will suffer, there is no question about that. With the leagues spreading around the world, it’s going to go the football way,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
“The teams will assemble just before the World Cup, they play a little bit of bilateral, clubs will release the players and you play the mega World Cup. So it’s going to go that way in the long run whether you like it or not.
“I don’t feel bad at all,” said the former India all-rounder, adding: “one of the faculties of the game will suffer. I think it will be 50-over cricket.” A trend has already started where many international cricketers are preferring club over country. And Shastri admitted that he won’t be surprised to see the trend growing in coming time.
“Look at the volume of people in this country, we are 1.4 billion, and only 11 can play for India,” Shastri said.
“What will the others do? They have an opportunity to play white-ball cricket, it’s their strength, globally, across different franchises in the world. Grab that opportunity. It’s common sense, it’s their living. It’s their income. Nobody will be able to deprive them of this. They (players) are not contracted by BCCI. What stops them going? “Nothing like getting exposure. How much do they want to protect their own league (IPL)? You’ve got to see where they come from, and rightly so. This is our league and to protect this league is paramount as far as our interest goes. But by letting certain players go, it’s not going to affect the league in any way.”
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