The UAE T20 league or the ILT20 has ruffled some feathers in the cricketing world as the full member nations of the International Cricket Council (ICC) shared serious concerns over the amount of money it is offering to overseas players and the idea of having 9 overseas cricketers in one playing XI.
The ICC, which provided official sanctions to the league, says the ILT20 fulfilled all criteria to gain that sanction and that there is no “hard cap” on the number of foreign players on a side within the existing regulations.
However, the issue was discussed with more seriousness at the chief executives’ committee (CEC) meeting in Birmingham with regards to the impact of a league made up mostly of foreign players, such as the ILT20 intends to be.
Several officials present at the meeting confirmed that Cricket South Africa (CSA), CA, the ECB, and CWI joined in to express their concerns. Most concerned was CWI, who have been impacted hard by the presence of West Indian players in T20 leagues across the world and prioritizing that over international cricket.
“[The view of these boards] is that there should be some regulation or guidelines regarding a minimum number of local players that must be in each team and play in each match,” one board CEO told ESPNCricinfo.
Foreign Players Being Offered Up To US$ 450,000 A Season A Concern For Other Cricket Boards
Apart from the abundance of overseas players in each franchise, another issue of concern has been the money on offer for foreign players. Three of the league’s six franchises are owned by IPL owners – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders – and one by the Glazers of Manchester United.
Each team has an 18-member squad in which up to 12 can be from overseas. At least three must be UAE players, two from other Associates, and one Under-23 UAE player. Each playing XI can have a maximum of nine overseas players with at least one UAE and one other Associate player.
It has been reported that top players have been offered up to US$ 450,000 a season, making it the second-most lucrative league after the IPL. And the Franchises are now negotiating directly with the players to ensure that players from their teams also appear for them in ILT20.
Recently the potential of David Warner playing in the ILT20 made Cricket Australia sweat much as they were trying to negotiate a deal with him to play in the Big Bash League for the first time since 2013.
With the South Africa ODIs being cancelled, players like Warner, Steven Smith, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood, among other Test players, will be available to play franchise cricket in that period.
CA had hoped that all would play in the BBL given it runs from December 13 to February 4, while the ILT20 is scheduled to run from January 6 to February 12.
The big restriction for the players’ potential earnings in the BBL is the AUD$ 1.9 million (US$ 1.32 million approx.) salary cap with top contracts in the BBL for Australian players maxing out at roughly AUD$ 190,000 (US$ 132,000 approx.).
This makes the $450,000 offer from the ILT20 much more lucrative to the players given that the tournament is a shorter one as well.