Faf du Plessis, former South African captain and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman, believes the proliferation of T20 leagues around the world poses a significant threat to international cricket. Du Plessis competed in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 before the league was suspended last month due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in India.
According to Du Plessis, the game’s administrators must strike a delicate balance between leagues and international cricket. “T20 leagues pose a risk to international cricket.” The power of the leagues is increasing year by year, and while there may have been only two leagues in the beginning, there are now 4,5, 6,7 leagues in a year. “The leagues are only getting stronger,” he said ahead of the Pakistan Super League in a virtual media interaction (PSL).
“I think it’s important in the future to try and see how it’s possible for both to coexist because if it becomes a choice moving forward into the future, it can be a real threat for the international game,” the South African batter added.
Du Plessis, who will play for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL, which resumes here on June 9 after a COVID-forced postponement, believes that if the game’s stewards do not take corrective action now, international cricket, like soccer, risks losing out to domestic leagues in the future. The CSK batsman was also the third-highest run-scorer in IPL 2021, amassing 320 runs in seven games, including four fifties and a top-score of 95 not out.
“That is a huge task. Perhaps in ten years, cricket will be similar to soccer, with world events interspersed with leagues around the world where players can compete,” the veteran South African batsman predicted.
Using the example of West Indies players such as Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, Du Plessis stated that many current players may opt to become freelance cricketers in the future, which would be a significant loss for their respective national teams.
“If I take someone like myself, you go play in two, three, or four leagues all over the world, but I can’t predict the future. There are an increasing number of participants.. (who want to play in T20 Leagues).
“The West Indies were probably the first to do it. All of their players switched from the international team to the domestic T20 circuit. As a result, the West Indian team lost many of its key players. “It is beginning to happen in South Africa as well,” he said.
(with PTI inputs)