Irfan Pathan Denies Confirming Availability for Lanka Premier League Draft

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Days after a report suggested that former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan is set to feature in the Lanka Premier League, the cricketer-turned-commentator himself came up with a tweet to reveal that he hasn’t confirmed his availability for any T20 league in the world yet.

However, the 35-year-old, who last played a professional match in February 2019, also added that he wish to play in the T20 leagues around the world in future.

“I wish to play T20 leagues around the world in future, but at this stage I haven’t confirmed my availability in any Leagues,” Irfan Pathan, who has played for teams including Delhi Daredevils (Delhi Capitals) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in IPL, said.

Irfan Pathan retired from all form of cricket in January this year and has been one of the advocates suggesting that BCCI should allow its non-contracted players to go and play in the foreign leagues. Notably, BCCI is the only cricket board in the world which doesn’t allow its cricketers to feature in the foreign T20 leagues.

Star cricketers like Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh are either retired or not at all considered for selection in the national team and this leaves them with not much of cricket to play throughout the year. The players have said that the standard of Ranji Trophy has declined with the passage of time and to hone some new skills which would help them put forward their case for a comeback they should be allowed to play in foreign leagues and gain experience.

“There is a different mindset in different countries. Michael Hussey made his debut at the age of 29 for Australia, an Indian player can never make his debut at the age of 30. I think as long as you are fit, you should be available to play for your country. I would suggest that all those players who are 30 years old and they are not on your radar to play international matches, you should allow them to play in foreign leagues,” Irfan Pathan had earlier said in an Instagram Live chat with Suresh Raina.

BCCI on the other hand had said that “exclusivity is the key”. The board believes that the non-contracted players are able to command good value at the IPL auction because of their exclusivity of not playing in other T20 leagues.

“From the point of view of the board and the interests of Indian cricket, the intent is to ensure a system where the non-contracted players are able to command good value at the IPL auction. Exclusivity is the key,” a BCCI official had earlier said.

The LPL- Sri Lanka’s first major T20 tournament since 2012 – is set to begin on August 28, will feature five teams, and will attract 70 international players and 10 “top notch” coaches.

If it goes ahead as announced, the LPL will feature 23 games, and will be played across Sri Lanka’s four day/night international stadiums – Khettarama, Sooriyawewa, Pallekele and Dambulla. The action will move from venue to venue as the tournament progresses, rather than be played in various venues within the space of a few days as is the case with past iterations of the Indian Premier League or Big Bash League, for example. The five teams will be named after five cities – Colombo, Galle, Jaffna, Dambulla and Kandy – but teams will not have a base venue, nor will they necessarily play most of their games in the city they are named for.


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N Krishnamurthy