Rahul Dravid's stance that Indian players don't need to compete in foreign competitions is shared by Zaheer Khan and Ravi Shastri. With a strong domestic system already in place, they believe,
"we should focus on our country rather than looking outside".
There is a perception that Indian players, who are unable to compete in international leagues like the Big Bash League or the Hundred, are at a disadvantage against players from other nations,
who have access to a wider variety of playing environments. After India's ten-wicket loss to England in the most recent T20 World Cup semifinal, the debate gained steam.
Stephen Fleming, Anil Kumble, and Tom Moody, three of ESPN cricinfo's tournament experts, felt that India should rethink its stance on allowing its players to compete in other competitions.
When asked about this after the game, Dravid acknowledged that some England players may have had an advantage due to their BBL experience in gauging the semi-venue, final's Adelaide, better. The majority of these T20 competitions, he added, take place during India's domestic season, making it challenging for Indian players to play in foreign leagues.
Additionally, given how well-liked Indian athletes are worldwide, their involvement can be detrimental to domestic cricket.
Zaheer, a longtime member of the Mumbai Indians coaching staff who was recently promoted to the position of global head of cricket development by the organisation, said India had adequate resources to generate players who could perform well in any situation and at any level.
"I feel there are a lot of processes in place. It's not about playing only franchise cricket, it's about going to different countries to learn things. That is something which is important, and you've seen with BCCI, with their shadow tours, I think those processes are well in place,"
Zaheer said, in an interaction facilitated by Prime Video ahead of India's first T20I against New Zealand in Wellington on Friday.
"I don't see any other reason right now for players to go and play in a particular tournament. What you have domestically right now is also a robust structure. So why depend on others? We have more than enough means for producing good players. And you look at our bench strength as well, you can virtually play three line-ups, and they will be able to compete at any level."
There has been an increase in the number of India A tours over the last few years, and Shastri was of the opinion that the players get enough exposure playing domestic cricket, the IPL, and on these tours.
"There is enough domestic cricket for all these players to get absorbed in the system and get an opportunity,"
"Plus, you get these India A tours, you get a lot of these other tours, where at one given time you might have two Indian teams playing in the future, where the opportunity will come for the other lot to go somewhere else whilst India is in another country - to go play and see what you know they can do.
"So there's no need [to play in overseas leagues], they're absolutely fine playing IPL cricket and focusing on domestic cricket. We need them to play domestic cricket in India as well."
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