Is there a possibility that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may come into conflict with the franchises of the Indian Premier League on the issue of managing the workload of Indian players who are being targeted for the 2023 World Cup?
At the conclusion of a review meeting on Sunday, the BCCI announced, for the first time officially, that the National Cricket Academy (NCA) will work in tandem with the IPL franchises to monitor the pool of 20 players who will be in the frame for the 50-over World Cup, which is less than ten months away. This announcement came after the BCCI revealed officially that the NCA will work in tandem with the IPL franchises to monitor the pool of 20 players who will be in the frame for the tournament.
As a matter of public record, Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board have comparable contracts with players who participate in the Indian Premier League, and the franchises adhere to these contracts. Since the Twenty20 World Cup has been staged in back-to-back years for the past two seasons, there has been widespread speculation that the BCCI has been monitoring the workloads of players in the Indian Premier League. Although the franchises denied the BCCI and NCA teams the power to handle the players directly, they would sometimes exchange reports.
However, for the very first time, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has made it public that it would “monitor the targeted Indian players competing in the IPL 2023.” The lines that were mentioned above from the press release did not, however, make it quite clear if the performances would be monitored or the workload.
If we are talking about the amount of effort, it would be fascinating to observe how the BCCI approaches the problem. While CA and ECB ask the franchises to share data with them on a regular basis, some of the franchise’s fast bowlers and all-rounders even arrive in the IPL with a limit on how many overs they can deliver during their stint, and this limit includes both the net session and the match. This limit applies to the entirety of their time with the franchise. It is incorporated in the process by which these member boards issue their players their NOCs, which is required for the players to participate.
There is a significant amount of uncertainty over the viability of a comparable system with relation to the Indian players. This is due to the fact that in the past, franchises have been resistant to the concept of the BCCI regulating the players’ workload. Just a few hours after the then-BCCI president Sourav Ganguly revealed that Rohit Sharma has a hamstring injury and was not considered for the tour of Australia, the opener took the field for Mumbai Indians against Sunrisers Hyderabad during the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League that was held in the United Arab Emirates.
And if one may believe the information provided by trustworthy people who are in the know, there have been times in the past when at least a handful of major franchises have refused to provide data with the NCA. In addition, if one were to make the assumption that the NCA will in fact monitor the workload, it would be fascinating to see the process that they use to do so.
“The BCCI is unable to request that the franchises bench a player for any of the IPL games.” They may, of course, monitor the workload and ask for any data to be supplied, but they cannot set a limit and state that a certain player can play only X number of matches or can bowl only X amount of overs, according to an official from the franchise.
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