August 8, 2022
Full member concerned with consideration of nine overseas players per XI in the UAE League

The possible presence of nine overseas players per team at the UAE-based ILT20 has rattled the wings of many full members, who fear it has the potential to disrupt the global cricket ecosystem.

Their concerns were raised at the recent ICC AGM in Birmingham, but have gained urgency as it became clear what amounts were offered to overseas players in the league, and in South Africa, Australia and Bangladesh. It had a direct conflict with the league. Bilateral international cricket calendar.

The ICC, which granted official sanction to the league, says that the ILT20 met all the criteria to earn that approval and that there is no “hard cap” on the number of foreign players in a side within the current rules.

The issue was the subject of lengthy discussion at the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) meeting in Birmingham during the ICC AGM in the last week of July. It was on the agenda, inspired by a letter written by the PCB about the proliferation of T20 leagues and the impact on the international calendar.

This turned into a more specific discussion around the impact of a league composed mostly of foreign players, as ILT20 is intended to be. Several officials present at the meeting confirmed that Cricket South Africa (CSA), CA, ECB and CWI joined in to express their concerns. CWI, heavily influenced by the presence of West Indian players in leagues around the world for many years, has been sounding the alarm over this for a long time.

,[The view of these boards] It is that there should be some rules or guidelines regarding the minimum number of local players that each team should have and play in each match,” the CEO of a board told ESPNcricinfo.

Emirates Cricket Board Secretary General Mubashir Usmani and those on the league’s operational front were there to speak to those concerns at the CEC. Osmani Associates is a CEC member as a representative. According to one account, he questioned the number of overseas players in over his head as to why four overseas players – and not one or two – had become a norm in most leagues in the first place, arguing that it was an arbitrary one. was the number.

Usmani is also believed to have ensured that unlike other full member leagues, ILT20 will feature all centrally contracted UAE cricketers in their franchises. To questions about the lack of focus on local development implied by a league that is privately owned and largely populated by foreign players, Usmani stated that all T20 leagues were created primarily for commercial reasons. have gone. ESPNcricinfo reached out to Usmani to verify the account, but did not respond. However, those present at the CEC confirmed the nature of the discussion.

ILT20 is not owned by the Emirates Cricket Board, but is approved by them; It is held in a private capacity by Khalid Al Zarooni, the vice chairman of the Emirates Board. Al Zarooni is also the Director of Al Zarooni Group of Companies, one of the largest construction companies in Dubai.

Despite this, an ILT20 official told ESPNcricinfo that the league plans to bring money back to UAE cricket through development programs for men’s and women’s cricket. There are plans to bring in IPL coaches for these programs and talent hunt for franchises owned by IPL owners.

Of the six franchises in the league, three are owned by IPL owners – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders – and one is owned by the Glazers of Manchester United. Each team consists of an 18-man squad, of which 12 can be from abroad. There must be at least three UAE players, two from other Associates and one under-23 UAE player. Each playing XI can have a maximum of nine foreign players along with at least one UAE and one other associate player.

The franchise is offering top players up to US$450,000 per season, making it the second most lucrative league after the IPL. And although there were initial plans to recruit players through a hybrid auction and draft – Audra – process, now wholesale acquisitions are being made directly. Franchisees can negotiate direct terms with up to six overseas players, although this could increase to between eight and 10 in the next few days, so players are in a rush to sign up.

The money on offer has forced the major players to seriously consider the offer, which, in turn, has caused headaches for members who are concerned about the potential flight of their elite talent. That position is crystallized by David Warner’s position, but is affecting other boards as well – not least because the first edition is scheduled from 6 January to 12 February next year, meaning it will go directly to the CSA League. as well as conflicts with the second half. bbl.

Due to dissatisfaction, the focus has shifted to official acceptance of the league. Since it is being held in an associate member country, it is up to the ICC to finalize it – rather than a full member board (the league was played there). This approval came shortly before the ICC AGM.

ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardyce told ESPNcricinfo that the league had “complied” all the required rules and met all the criteria.

“We get approval requests from members of the ICC,” Allardyce said. “If a board wants to work with an organization that promotes leagues or private team owners, that is the structure, and that is the structure they choose to operate. It is not uncommon.

“We assessed it under the rules. We sent it to our departments for feedback. They were satisfied that the application complied with the rules. And we approved it.”

There is no “hard cap” on the number of foreign players in the rules as they stand. At the April ICC meetings, amendments to the Regulations were approved, which now require, in addition to the approval of the Member Board, the approval of the ICC of a program in the territory of an associate member, and in which more than four of the full members are currently or Includes former players (previous regulations require sanction only if squads consist of four or more current full member players or associate members with players from ODI status).

“The league (ILT20) follows the rules of the ICC as they stand at the moment,” Allardyce said. “The ICC has only any sanctioning authority over Associate Member Leagues. There is no limit on the number of foreign players that can be used in our rules. They have found opportunities in the playing XI for eligible players from the local UAE, they Additional contracted positions have been found in squads for eligible players from the UAE, and they have also been found in their squad positions for players from associate member countries.”

With additional inputs from Firdous Munda

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