Sidelined Suresh Raina and former all-rounder Irfan Pathan on Saturday said that BCCI should allow those Indian players to compete in foreign T20 leagues who are not in contention for the national team.
"I wish and hope that the BCCI along with ICC or the franchises has a plan in place wherein a player who is not contracted with BCCI, should be allowed to play foreign leagues. Because I feel there are a lot of players including Yusuf (Pathan), myself, Robin Uthappa and a lot of other quality payers who can go outside and learn a lot," Raina said in an Instagram Live chat with Irfan.
"And be that any league...allow us two leagues where we go and BCCI can decide where we go. The thing is that the competition on the domestic level is nowhere close to what we have at the international level. We do not have a Plan B barring IPL. If we go out and play and stay fit then our cricket will also improve and we will also be able to learn a lot."
Irfan, who had initiated the session, also seconded the opinion, saying players who are not in the reckoning should at least be allowed to compete in foreign T20 leagues.
"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 as long as you are fit, you should be available to play for your country," said Irfan, who had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in January this year.
"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."
The BCCI does not allow Indian players to play in overseas leagues unless they have formally announced their retirement.
Irfan and Raina, who had incidentally made their India Under-19 debuts together back in 2002, also reminisced the times they played together discussing a lot of on-field as well as off-field stuff. Raina recalled an incident from Abu Dhabi in 2005 where him, Irfan and MS Dhoni got mobbed.
"I remember there was a series between India and Pakistan, in Abu Dhabi with Inzamam-ul-Haq as Pakistan's captain and Rahul Dravid, captain of India. There you had taken me and Mahi bhai to your friend's place. When we reached there, so many people began turning up, it became so chaotic. Both of you were superstars, and me a youngster got mixed up in between," said Raina.
Irfan also revealed that when he joined Jammu and Kashmir as mentor-cum-coach in 2018, he had three different contracts of various leagues around the world but rejected those to help the kids in J & K. He also further went onto reveal how the kids in the side did not even have proper equipment.
"When I got the offer to mentor the Jammu & Kashmir side, then I had three league offers, one I won't reveal, the others being CPL and T10 league. I just had to announce my retirement and take an NoC from BCCI," Irfan revealed.
"I had gotten frustrated with the board in Baroda and wanted to leave, but as soon as I got this offer I didn't think once before taking up the offer. This is because people there need support. When I went to the camp for the first time, I personally had to work so hard. The guys in the team barely had monetary support but were so talented."
Irfan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in January this year, calling time on a 16-year-long career. Once touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, Irfan was sidelined after a few poor seasons. However, the all-rounder said he is ready to give his heart and soul if the selectors give him a year to prepare with the assurance of being considered for selection in the Indian side.
“Communication is very important. If they (selectors) come and tell me ‘Irfan you have retired but you prepare for one year and you will be available for India selection’ then I will leave everything, give my heart and soul and will only do hard work. But who will do the communication?” said Irfan.
Irfan also echoed his former India teammate's suggestion.
“We are still young and fit but most importantly we have that passion. We are fighters, if we get a chance then we will surely perform. I’ve seen a lot of players trying different things, even changing associations but they are not getting the support," Raina said.