Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said if he was in Chris Lynn's place he would have dragged Cricket Australia to court if he hadn't got the No Objection Certificate to feature in UAE's International League T20 (ILT20). The six-team league, set to begin in January 2023, will collide with the upcoming edition of the Big Bash League and Cricket Australia doesn't want its top stars playing somewhere else.
Lynn, the highest run-getter in the history of BBL, is neither contracted to Cricket Australia nor his state side Queensland and has also left Brisbane Heat prior to the next season. “To me, you then go back to the World Series Cricket days, where they took the board to court over restraint of trade. Is it a restraint of trade?
"In Chris Lynn’s case, if he hasn’t got a contract with Cricket Australia or Cricket Queensland, what’s to stop him? If I was Chris Lynn and I wanted to play in the UAE I’d take them to court. I don’t think Cricket Australia would have a hope in hell. It’s got to be a restraint of trade. You’re not contracting him, but you’re not letting him play either," Chappell was quoted as saying by Wide World of Sports.
The franchise-based T20 leagues are starting to dominate the world of cricket and Chappell believes that international cricket might struggle to retain players. “I think a lot of the older players will get offers from that area, and that will be a real challenge for nations like Australia who have a lot of good players, and also for nations that can’t afford to pay their players the best rates.
“Then you’ve got the problem of the IPL franchises owning teams in different leagues around the world. If you’ve got a decent IPL contract and the choice is between Australia and your IPL franchise’s UAE team, well are you going to put your IPL contract at risk?"
The 78-year-old also feels that these T20 leagues might hurt Test cricket in future. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. For starters, if you’re being realistic you can only play Test cricket between about eight teams.
“West Indies have got a problem because they can’t afford to pay their players. Sri Lanka have a reasonable infrastructure but big political problems, and South Africa is similar. Whoever thought of giving Afghanistan and Ireland Test status is off their rocker. But you know why it’s been done, it’s so those countries get a vote."
“To me, this whole issue has been coming for quite a while, and I have no sympathy for the administrators. (Test cricket) won’t die in my lifetime. But who’ll be playing it? That’s the big question. If you haven’t got your best players, is Test cricket worth watching? The answer is probably no. Test cricket is a good game, but it’s got to be well played."