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Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina: Are Indian cricketers retiring early to play foreign T20 leagues?

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalSep 15, 2022 | 14:31

Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina: Are Indian cricketers retiring early to play foreign T20 leagues?

Robin Uthappa (L) and Suresh Raina (R). Photo: Getty Images

Robin Uthappa has announced retirement from all forms of international and Indian cricket. The Karnataka-born cricketer made his debut in international cricket in 2006 and has played 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is. He was also the part of India's 2007 T20 World Cup winning squad. 

However, his retirement is only from all forms of international and Indian cricket. This means, he will be available to play in other foreign leagues. For this, he has also obtained a no objection certificate (NOC) from Kerala, the last state he played for in domestic cricket. In his words, he will be charting a new phase in his life. 

Uthappa's retirement comes nearly eight days after former cricketer Suresh Raina announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. Last year, in February, even Yusuf Pathan took retirement from all forms of Indian cricket. 

Why these Indian cricketers opting for retirement? A big reason why players like Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan took retirement from all forms of Indian cricket is so that they can play in foreign T20 leagues.

Among all the three cricketers, the one thing that was common was that their career in international cricket and the IPL had come to a standstill. Raina, who played for Chennai Super Kings for nearly a decade, was dropped by the team in 2022. He went unsold at the auctions. 

Same goes for Uthappa, who has played for six IPL teams - Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata  Knight Riders, Pune Warriors India and latest Chennai Super Kings. He had a disappointing IPL run in 2022, where he could score only 230 runs in 12 matches at an average of 20.91. It was expected that he might be dropped from the team for the next season.

Robin Uthappa. Photo: AFP

Yusuf Pathan too, after playing for Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders, has been going unsold for past couple of years. He was dropped by KKR in 2018 and since then he has not been part of any team.

After retirement, these players can play in foreign T20 leagues, which was not possible under Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) current rule, which prohibits Indian players from participating in any foreign league.

Why BCCI doesn't allow Indian cricketers to play in foreign leagues? Under BCCI's rules, no player, whether contracted or non-contracted, cannot play any T20 league or T10 league or any other competition of that format, outside the country. 

The reason the BCCI does this is because it doesn't want any Indian player to promote a foreign cricket league. If not a part of IPL, these players can only play first-class cricket and List A matches, which doesn't attract much crowds.

There is one more reason for the BCCI to do so. By not allowing these players to play the foreign leagues, the BCCI also wants to make sure that the domestic cricket is rich with talent and there is no dearth of cricketers here. If it allows junior and senior players to take part in foreign T20 leagues, then very few cricketers will be left for the domestic cricket. In this case, a big vacuum will be created in the domestic cricket.

Last updated: September 15, 2022 | 15:11
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