The Hundred: Karthik claims CSK duo Raina, Uthappa want to play the Hundred, will BCCI allow?

The Hundred: Karthik claims CSK duo Raina, Uthappa want to play the Hundred, will BCCI allow?
The Hundred: Karthik claims CSK duo Raina, Uthappa want to play the Hundred, will BCCI allow?

The Hundred – Will BCCI allow Indian Cricketers in future? The inaugural edition of The Hundred, ECB’s newest 100-ball cricket tournament, will see five Indian women cricketers taking part but most notably, the Indian male stars will be missing. But Kolkata Knight Riders’ vice-captain Dinesh Karthik has claimed that even though BCCI has put up a blanket ban on active Indian cricketers playing foreign franchise leagues, Chennai Super Kings duo of Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa are very much willing to play it. It further raises the question, will BCCI ever allow them?

Even though the IPL has witnessed the likes of Chris Gayle, Ben Stokes and AB de Villiers putting up memorable performances, the same hasn’t been the case for their respective T20 leagues. Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma are yet to grace CPL or Big Bash League or the ECB’s latest endeavour The Hundred as the BCCI wants to maintain IPL’s global appeal and exclusivity.

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“I know a few of the cricketers – the likes of Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa – they have come out and said they would like to play a few other franchise leagues but I don’t think it’s been accepted as of now,” Dinesh Karthik, who is in Sky Sports’ panel of commentators for The Hundred told the Guardian.

The Hundred: CSK duo Suresh Raina & Robin Uthappa show interest but why BCCI doesn’t allow them?

– Every active Indian cricketer, who are under BCCI’s purview through IPL or domestic cricket are barred from playing franchise cricket in other countries.
– BCCI has done so to build on IPL’s brand and maintain exclusivity.
– In 2019, Dinesh Karthik was show-caused for attending Trinbago Knight Riders’ CPL match and was let go only after tendering an unconditional apology.
– The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan amongst others had to retire from active cricket in order to play franchise cricket elsewhere.
– Suresh Raina having retired from international cricket could follow the same path if he parts ways with Chennai Super Kings. So is the case for Robin Uthappa who are in the twilight of their careers.

– BCCI only allows women cricketers to play in franchise cricket. Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues will be playing in The Hundred. Some of them are in the WBBL.

The Hundred: The Kolkata Knight Riders wicket-keeper batsman will be sitting on the commentary panel but has declared that he very much would like to play the newest version of white-ball shorter-format cricket. But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) isn’t paying attention. The BCCI has currently paced a ban on active Indian male cricketers playing in such tournaments and Dinesh Karthik hopes it would be lifted one day.

“We’ll wait and see. I would love to play. But with the rules in place, I’m very happy following them. We represent the BCCI, we represent the country. Whatever the rules are, I guess we have to follow them at this point in time,” Dinesh Karthik said.

In the past, many active cricketers called it quits from IPL and Indian cricket to play in the franchise league. One notable amongst them is Yuvraj Singh, who retired from international cricket and IPL in order to play in the Global T20 League in Canada or the T10 League in the UAE. There are others like Irfan Pathan, Manpreet Gony, who were part of LPL 2020.

The Hundred: While BCCI doesn’t have authority over such companies to stop them from buying stakes elsewhere, they do have the might to stop players. Dinesh Karthik himself had been subjected to a ban after he was spotted in Trinbago Knight Riders’ dugout in the CPL 2019. He was subjected to a six-month ban but after he tendered an unconditional apology, BCCI put the matter to rest. The incident served as a warning to other cricketers who might be interested in a similar adventure.

But that won’t stop Indian cricketers from expressing interest. Dinesh Karthik has also claimed that India skipper Virat Kohli will be keenly watching The Hundred and would give his opinion while on the England tour for the Test series. Even approval of the latest endeavour could be a shot in the arm for The Hundred and the ECB.

“He’s a straightforward guy and if he likes it he’ll say, and if he doesn’t, he’ll say he doesn’t. He loves Test cricket and he’s one of the reasons it’s where it is today. I think it’s in a stronger place than five years ago. It’s good to see people like him speak up for it and if he watches the Hundred and he likes it, he’ll say so,” Karthik said.

The Hundred: Even IPL franchise owners have shown interest in buying franchises elsewhere like the Kolkata Knight Riders have done in the CPL with Trinbago Knight Riders or the Punjab Kings owners who have invested in St Lucia Zouks. The interest in The Hundred would certainly grow if it appeals to the mass, Karthik said.

“Most definitely. Teams in the IPL have bought teams in the CPL and I think it’s paying dividends for them. Over a period of time, there is a brand developed. IPL is in a strong place but with two new teams coming in [from 2022], I’m sure they want to create a cricketing brand and an image. One of the things you would like to do is spread your plate a little and buy into teams in other leagues. I’m sure if the Hundred is an option, that’s something they’ll definitely look into it,” Karthik said.