“I mean, sure, there’s no doubt about it, the fact that England… a lot of their players have come here and played,” Dravid said. “In this tournament, it certainly showed. It’s tough. I think it’s very difficult for Indian cricket because a lot of these tournaments happen right in the peak of our season.
“I think it’s a huge challenge for us. Yes, I think a lot of our boys maybe do miss out on the opportunities of playing in a lot of these leagues, but if you were to… it’s really up to the BCCI to make that decision, but the thing is it’s right in the middle of our season, and with the kind of demand there would be for Indian players, if you allowed all the Indian players to play in these leagues, we would not have a domestic cricket [tournament]. Our domestic [first-class] trophy, our Ranji Trophy, would be finished, and that would mean Test cricket would be finished.
“I know a lot of people talk about it [no Indians in overseas T20 leagues], but we have to be very careful when we… we have to understand the challenges that Indian cricket faces or the BCCI would face in a situation like this. You’d see all our boys… like a lot of boys being asked to play leagues right bang in the middle of our season. We’ve seen what that’s done to West Indian cricket, and I would definitely not want Indian cricket to go that way. It would certainly affect our Ranji Trophy; it would affect Test cricket. Indian boys playing Test cricket is pretty important for the Test game as well, I would think.”
The topic of participation in overseas T20 leagues has been a sticky one in Indian cricket. The bigger fear perhaps is that even if the BCCI allows only those with no ambition for a place in first-class cricket to play these T20 leagues, it will result in more and more players opting not to play first-class cricket, thus weakening the structure that has resulted in a formidable Test side. Other teams do have to deal with this friction, too, but the demand for Indian players for commercial reasons would be much higher.