In yet another reminder of the dominance of franchise cricket leagues, particularly in India, and the threat they may pose to international cricket, a recent report revealed that Australian Test captain Pat Cummins was offered $1 million (AUD) by multiple Indian inter-city T20 leagues.
According to Fox Sports, Cummins rejected the offers in order to prioritise playing for his country. The report reveals that several of the BCCI’s state associations which are cash-rich thanks to local marketing opportunities and lucrative broadcasting deals are now looking to bring in international players for their city-based local franchise leagues.
“These opportunities are huge and they are popping up more and more often,” Cummins was quoted as saying about franchise tournaments. “Playing for your country, international cricket at the moment is still number one for just about everyone, especially here in Australia, but we can’t just take that for granted.”
Recently, the power of franchise cricket has become evident with the rise of two privately-owned leagues being launched in the UAE (ILT20) and South Africa (SA20) which have offered bumper contracts to players. Many of the teams in these leagues are owned by the owners of IPL franchises.
In recent weeks, many big names in the game have called for the need to strike a balance between the rapid rise of franchise cricket, while preserving the importance of the international and domestic calendar.
On Thursday, England’s cricket board released a ‘High-Performance Review’ which made 17 suggestions, 15 of which have already been accepted, in light of the threat posed by franchise cricket to their game.
Earlier this month, New Zealand pacer Trent Boult was released from his central contract in order to spend more time with his family, and take part in more domestic franchise cricket leagues around the world. His captain Kane Williamson had come out to say that with the landscape of the game changing, cricket federations will need to act to create a balance for the players.