This is a debate that has been taking place ever since the IPL was started 15 years back and the debate has just only grown because of all the various T20 leagues that have been introduced by all the other countries because they are the ones which fetch the most money for their boards and this helps them to get better funds for their international cricket.
However the issue is that throughout the calendar the franchise leagues the world take up most of the time and there is little left to play for when it comes to international cricket and especially ODI cricket. Franchise cricket is great but it should not come at the detriment of the international game. So, let’s discuss whether franchise cricket has reduced the importance of international cricket
Yes, It has reduced the importance of international cricket
Any normal Cricketing fan will agree to this sentiment because all around the year there are some or the other leagues that are being played by the players and the number of players is limited and the number of leagues around the world are just growing year after year. Firstly there was only the IPL which was only for 2 months and the rest Of the 10 months was for international cricket so that was not a problem for anybody because the main priority was international cricket.
However seeing the success and the popularity of the IPL, other countries started their own domestic leagues as the Big Bash League was started in Australia 13 years ago and that has also grown in stature and all the international players started playing in these leagues. The only country who has not lost on so much international cricket is the Indian men’s team as they are not allowed to play any other league other than the IPL. Then the arrival of the Caribbean Premier league, the Pakistan Super League, The Sri Lankan Premier League, The Hundred by England really crammed the calendar and the players from the other nations had to play In these leagues because they were paid well. Recently the South Africa T20 league was launched and it was a massive success and now Saudi Arabia is looking to launch the biggest T20 league in terms of money with the IPL owners.
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In all of this international cricket has lost its importance because the players are preferring the leagues over the hard and arduous international cricket year and they get far more money. New Zealand cricketers such as Trent Boult and James Neesham left international cricket and are now playing leagues all around the world. The fear is that cricket will become like football where the leagues happen all around the year and international cricket will happen once here and there.
This should not happen because still playing for the nation is the biggest pride for any cricketer and almost all of them say that they want to play test cricket for India or other nation and winning an ICC trophy is far bigger than winning a league so the administrators have to sit and chalk out a way where the franchise leagues can grow but International cricket should not suffer because that is the heart and soul of cricket.