Aakash Chopra has proposed a radical suggestion for future editions of the IPL. The cricketer-turned-commentator feels the overseas player cap in the playing eleven should be increased to five from IPL 2022 onwards.
IPL 2022 is set to be a ten-team affair, with two new franchises added to the group. The change will see the league revert to a ten-franchise competition for the first time since 2011, having been an eight-team event since 2014.
Speaking on ESPNCricinfo’s show ‘Mute Me’, Aakash Chopra said he wants to see a change in the number of overseas players allowed in the playing eleven to ensure IPL’s competitiveness going forward.
“IPL should allow five overseas players in the playing eleven come next season when you have as many as ten teams. The reason for me saying that is that quality has to be paramount. IPL has succeeded, it has been the best T20 league in the world for a variety of reasons. One key element is the quality of cricket that is played on the park,” Chopra explained.
Closely-contested matches and the unpredictable nature of the competition have become the hallmarks of the IPL over the years. With each team having a proven crop of domestic and international stars, any team can beat the other on their given day.
In a bid to preserve the competition’s essence, Chopra feels five overseas players in each IPL team will ensure the quality of cricket doesn’t get affected by the league’s expansion.
“You can only ensure it (the quality of IPL) if you have five overseas players now. Because it is alright to have eight teams – seven Indians and four overseas players. Some teams are blessed with a lot of Indians but not most teams. So if you play five, then you can maintain the quality. Therefore, you really won’t feel the pinch. Because I do feel that if it is only four overseas with ten teams, we will all feel the pinch that the quality has gone down and that the IPL is no longer the competitive tournament that we are all a fan of,” Chopra concluded.
IPL could benefit from the five-overseas-player rule
With the quality of Indian players improving by the minute, many IPL franchises have several overseas players warming the bench. The prospect of not being part of the playing eleven for a long tournament like the IPL has prompted many overseas stars to opt out of the event in the past.
IPL 2021 saw proven international stars like Anrich Nortje, Mitchell Santner and Lockie Ferguson warm the bench. A ten-team IPL with the five-overseas-player rule will make the league more attractive to foreigners.
The two added teams will also ensure that many more Indians get their chances on the big stage, making sure IPL’s motto of giving opportunities to young domestic talent remains intact.