MUMBAI: The Indian cricket board (BCCI) is working on the idea of finally allowing cricketers of a certain age category to participate in ‘The Hundred‘, a brainchild of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), from 2022.
For now, the under-23 age-category players, both capped and uncapped, and not on national duty, are being considered. However, TOI understands this is only at a deliberation yet and both cricket boards are nowhere close to confirmation of any sorts yet.
The Hundred’s inaugural season is set to get under way this English summer. Since time is short, especially with Covid wreaking havoc, both boards will allow 2021 pass.
However, if all considerations between BCCI and the ECB are met between now and next year, sources say “BCCI may allow a certain category of Indian cricketers to participate in The Hundred”.
If and when this happens, it’ll be a huge step for the Indian cricket board, which has till now shied away from allowing its active (waged) cricketers to play abroad. The BCCI prefers not to allow its players to play in leagues overseas because the IPL loses a certain bit of exclusivity.
Also, it’s a policy decision that BCCI’s member associations collectively sit on, and also because the BCCI can afford to.
Then why will this particular exception be made for the ECB? Because the IPL now needs to expand. Eight teams being increased to 10 will mean more matches, and in turn, a bigger window.
The BCCI is keen on grabbing the month of March for IPL when the new Future Tours Program (FTP) comes into effect.
For that reason, it’ll require other boards to side with India’s line of thought. A quid-pro-quo is the only way forward.
The pressure on broadcasters to cram in double-headers has also been seen as detrimental to the prospects of getting top dollar when BCCI floats the tender for media rights later this year.
“A bigger window for the IPL in future will be BCCI’s biggest takeaway from this,” industry executives said.