It is still a small point of contention that currently active Indian players are not allowed to play in overseas tournaments around the world.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has previously outlawed participation in the Big Bash League and the T20 Blast among others to keep the national team players fit and fresh all year round.
Furthermore, recently IPL franchises have also inserted a clause in their players’ contracts that essentially prohibits their involvement in foreign competitions without the express agreement of the IPL and the BCCI.
But once a player has retired from active duty, it opens a few doors. MS Dhoni is expected to play one more year for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, despite their below-par efforts in 2020. Usually, that might preclude him from selection for tournaments played on international soil.
Rumours persist, however, that Dhoni himself is eyeing a deal in the Big Bash League, the lucrative limited overs tournament sponsored by KFC in Australia through December and January. He will be keen not to draw the ire of the Indian cricketing authorities as the wicketkeeping legend is expected to be fast-tracked through the coaching ranks of the national teams upon retirement. However, the 39-year-old may look to cash in on his last few remaining playing opportunities with a money-spinning contract.
Other retired players fit the bill as well. Yuvraj Singh has retired from the international set-up and is, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, being touted for a move to the BBL by his friend Shane Warne. He is determined to play on and has appeared in other T20 franchises, and even at 38 years of age, the left-hander believes he has plenty still to offer the sport.
Suresh Raina is another that has been mentioned having also gone through retirement, however his decision to withdraw from the IPL for ‘personal reasons’ perhaps suggests he won’t be making the move.
But Dhoni and Yuvraj? Well, only time will tell. New rules mean that BBL franchises can now field as many as three overseas players in their starting eleven. This is up from two in the past, so there will be opportunities for the Indian duo.
Warne holds sway at Melbourne Stars, the BBL side from his playing days. Yuvraj would be a fine addition to last year’s finalists, who, as of November 16, are the favourites in the outright winner BBL cricket betting odds from Betway. While, across the state Melbourne Renegades, a 10/1 outsider with the same sportsbook might just appeal to the nature of Dhoni, who loves a challenge. His old CSK colleague and current Renegades ace Imran Tahir may just have sent him a persuasive text message or two as well.
Power Surges and Bash Boosts
If this is to be Dhoni and Yuvraj’s first year in the BBL, they will enter the competition at a time when some unique new rules are being introduced.
For the 2020-21 season, three new rules will be implemented that Cricket Australia believe will add even more excitement to matches, and will introduce strategic thinking to the bombastic big hitting.
The first is Power Surge, a powerplay chosen by the batting team at any point after the eleventh over of their innings. Once called for, the fielding side can only have two players outside of the circle.
The second new rule is the X-Factor, which will allow a franchise to substitute onto the field after the tenth over of the first innings.
Available to both the batting and fielding teams, the X-Factor substitute must have been named as the 12th or 13th player on the team sheet. The rules also state that the X-Factor substitute can only replace a teammate who is yet to bat or who has bowled no more than a single over.
Finally, there’s the Bash Boost, a reward paid out in the tenth over of the second innings. If the team batting second is ahead of their opponent’s score at the same time as their innings, they will earn a bonus point – if not, this will be given to the fielding side.
These are certainly interesting innovations, and, one day, they may just make their way over to the IPL. The Power Surge and X-Factor rules would certainly make the addition of Dhoni and Yuvraj more exciting given their huge hitting. So, perhaps there’s never been a better time for a couple of Indian legends to get involved with the BBL.