Venky Mysore, the chief executive officer of the Kolkata Knight Riders, said that emerging Indian players ought to be allowed to participate in domestic Twenty20 leagues overseas. Mysore also felt that it was time to replace the IPL auction with a player draft.
Mysore said the IPL had done wonders for young Indian players over the past decade, but things would only get better if they were allowed to play in overseas T20 leagues. The Knight Riders, which has Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan as one of its owners, has a franchise in the CPL too, and was one of the original franchise owners in the ill-fated Global T20 League in South Africa, which has since been restructured with franchise ownership removed.
Mysore laid particular emphasis on those Indian players who didn't get much game-time during an IPL season and spent a large part of the tournament in the reserves. "There are at least 22-25 players sitting on the bench of franchises at any time who are capable of doing very well if they were given an opportunity. Obviously, they are not getting chances", Mysore said on ESPNcricinfo's Talking T20 podcast. "If those types of emerging players with immense potential are allowed to go out and play, they might play one tournament and suddenly you discover someone and say 'Wow!'. That will benefit Indian cricket in the short and medium and long run. I'm definitely someone who advocates that."
The BCCI has never allowed Indian players to participate in overseas leagues, primarily to protect the IPL as well as other domestic competitions. But Mysore felt differently. "See what IPL has done for Indian cricket. It's played a huge role in showcasing talent who would not have otherwise had an opportunity. Next thing you know, they are staking a claim for the national team. The rest of the world is also noticing that and seeing that. There's a huge benefit to that. But in the process, are we also missing out?"
Mysore said he understood the challenges which came with such an allowance for Indian players, but added that franchises and the board had to have meaningful conversations and find a middle ground.
"I've had several conversations around the subject and it's important to understand the other side of the perspective, which is that by allowing players to go out, where do you draw the line? Recently, some news has come out that the ICC intend to restrict it to three T20 tournaments for every player.
"The balance that needs to be achieved is, how does one also make sure that the windowing is appropriate and optimal so that the domestic cricket season doesn't get affected in any shape or form. After all, huge amounts of investments have gone in by the boards to build infrastructure and build the systems which cricketers come through, and we have all benefited from that in the auction while picking up our teams."
As a franchise owner working in both the IPL and the CPL, Mysore felt that the IPL had reached a level of maturity now for it to move to a draft system to acquire players, instead of the current auction system. While acknowledging that the auction was necessary to maintain a level-playing field at the inception of the IPL, Mysore felt that the time was now right to ensure continuity and connect more with the cities franchises are based in.
"I think the time has come (to move to a draft). Frankly, there have been some conversations offline between franchisees and a couple of us who have been talking about this for a while. It may be appropriate to move away from an auction system now. It was necessary to maintain a level-playing field (in 2008) and everyone was learning on the fly. After eleven seasons, every franchise has figured out how to build and run a franchise. Each one has their own style, that's different. But to be able to maintain continuity, connect with the city, connect with the fans, I think it's important to get away from the big auction idea, where everybody goes back and tries to rebuild.
"Rather than that, having some kind of a combination of a draft system and trading and even a loan system like the one introduced this year. All of this will help in empowering franchises to fine-tune and build, while maintaining continuity"