Raina Calls On BCCI To Lift Overseas T20 Ban

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MUMBAI, May 11 (Reuters) - India's 2011 World Cup-winning batsman Suresh Raina has called on the country's cricket board (BCCI) to lift its ban on players participating in overseas Twenty20 leagues.

The BCCI does not allow active players to sign for franchise-based leagues outside the country in a bid to protect the prestige of its own Indian Premier League (IPL), fancsy.com which attracts many of the world's top cricketers.

Raina said there were many active Indian players left on the sidelines of the lucrative annual T20 tournament who were also being denied the chance to play abroad.

"I hope the BCCI can get together with the ICC (International Cricket Council) or with franchises and allow players who don't have BCCI contracts to play in overseas leagues," Raina said during an Instagram chat with his former India team-mate Irfan Pathan.

"I feel there are a lot of players, including Yusuf (Pathan), myself, Robin Uthappa - a lot of quality players who can go overseas and learn a lot, no matter which league it is."

Once considered an automatic selection for India's limited-overs sides, Raina played 226 one-dayers and 78 T20 internationals but has not worn the blue jersey since July 2018.

An aggressive left-handed batsman and a part-time off-spinner, Raina is also known for his electric fielding and was part of the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side that won the 50-overs World Cup at home in 2011.

The 33-year-old is also a key member of Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings side in the IPL, which has seen its 2020 season postponed indefinitely due the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"We aren't in the BCCI contracts list, some of us don't have IPL contracts, we aren't playing international cricket, and the competition in domestic cricket isn't what it is at the international level," Raina said.

"If we can get three months of quality cricket, whether it's the CPL (Caribbean Premier League) or the Big Bash (League) or any league, it can help us stay ready. Players from other countries are able to play in these leagues, and a lot of them have made international comebacks after doing well in them.

"We play the IPL, but if these people (BCCI selectors) have a pool of 40-50 players, they think those outside it aren't good enough or are past it, and neglect them.

We don't have a Plan B.

"If we go overseas and perform, our cricket will improve and we'll get to learn a lot." (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)