Playing for the country is about pride, respect, patriotism, and it is doubtful that any sportsperson wouldn’t want to represent his or her nation. But what if the money paid is too little not to afford a decent livelihood? That’s where cricketers and in almost every other sports players have the option to play for franchises or T20 leagues.
Cricket, a game which was played for leisure, then became a good career option, and now sadly, more than anything, for the boards, it is more of a money-making scheme. To be honest, even for the players, love for representing the country aside, it isn’t the worst thing to actually try to make more money doing a thing which you are good at, and are in demand.
Hence players have elected to play for franchises in different leagues over committing to the national team. Money, of course, is a major driving factor in this decision. Not to forget, the boards in recent years have scheduled matches with fewer breaks which would take a toll on the players – physically and mentally.
5 Cricketers Who Opted For Franchise T20 League Over The National Team
Mitchell McClenaghan is one of the recurring players in T20 leagues. But the Kiwi last played for his national side in 2016. In just 4 years of international cricket, McClenaghan made a name for himself as a gun T20 bowler.
Since 2016, he was picked in New Zealand’s squads but wasn’t included in the playing eleven. Hence in 2017, he refused a contract by the board and went the T20 freelance way.
He is famously known as the backup option for Mumbai Indians. The franchise likes him and always try to get back the Kiwi- whether in the auction or as someone’s replacement. The left-arm seamer has four IPL titles with MI.
No surprise that the most sought after T20 all-rounder features in this list. Andre Russell is a behemoth in franchise cricket, and on several occasions has skipped playing for the West Indies to remain fit or participate in T20 leagues.
In the most recent event, after suffering an injury in the IPL, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, Russell pulled out of West Indies’ tour to New Zealand. However, he has landed in Sri Lanka to play in the Lanka Premier League (LPL). In 2018 as well, the Jamaican stated that he was injured and opted out of the series against India but was seen playing in the Global Canada T20 League.
Russell is not the first West Indian who chose to play for franchises over the West Indies, as there is a comparatively huge difference of money offered to them. Also, he won’t be the last cricketer from the Caribbean islands to do so unless the board compensates the players well.
The greatest T20 batsman walking on the face of the earth, Chris Gayle is the most distinguished player in franchise cricket. Therefore, it comes as no shock that the Universe Boss decides himself – and maybe he has earned that right – when he would play for West Indies. He last represented the West Indies in March 2019. Since then the left-hander has played 2 IPL seasons, and other leagues as well.
This has been going on for years. Since 2015, he has played just 15 T20 internationals – 5 of them in 2016, the year of the T20 World Cup. The 41-year-old is likely to come back in the West Indies mix because there are two T20 World Cups slated in the next couple of years.
On the Indian pitches in the World Cup next year, Gayle will bring his huge IPL experience, and it is difficult to see how the selectors can omit him.
AB de Villiers
Yes, AB de Villiers. Arguably, the best all-format batsman of the past decade, AB did make his choices about when to represent South Africa and when to be rested. Before the India series in 2018, he didn’t play a Test for the Protea side for almost two years but continued plying his trade in T20 leagues around the world.
In 2018, he suddenly retired from international cricket from all formats, at the age of 34, when he was still at his peak. Looking at his form in the IPL, and elsewhere, he is still at his peak and playing an attacking brand of cricket.
The whole saga before and during the 2019 World Cup put AB in a bad light where it was reported that the right-hander wanted to return to the team but wasn’t allowed. As said earlier, international cricket is having a jam-packed schedule, and the riches of T20 cricket just lured AB into early retirement. Nonetheless, de Villiers continues to enthral everyone in T20 cricket.
While it can’t be said that Rohit Sharma preferred to play for Mumbai Indians over the Indian team, but he did risk his injury in the IPL, knowing that an important tour of Australia is just around the corner.
The events unfolded as Rohit got injured in the IPL, missed few matches, returned for the playoffs, scored a match-winning fifty in the final, added to the Test squad for Australia but not in the limited-overs side, goes to NCA in Bangalore for training instead of Australia.
The issue has spread like wildfire with the pertinent question being, “If he was fit enough for the IPL playoffs, then why not for India matches?”, “If the injury was so serious, why did he risked aggravating it by playing for MI?” Well, captain Virat Kohli’s ‘lack of clarity’ comments speaks plenty about the relationship between him and the opener, without many words.