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Cricket going the football way with T20 leagues spreading around the world: Ravi Shastri

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Former India coach Ravi Shastri believes that cricket is heading towards football’s way of functioning and warned that the players in future will be only interested in playing global events like World Cups.

“I have always said that the bilateral cricket will suffer, there is no question about that. With the leagues spreading around the world, it’s going to go the football way. The teams will assemble just before the World Cup, they play a little bit of bilateral, clubs will release the players and you play the mega World Cup. So it’s going to go that way in the long run whether you like it or not,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

With recent reports saying that players are being informally approached by franchises to sign contracts where the team owners become their primary employers instead of their respective country’s governing bodies, Shastri foresees that players may have to choose between their country and their club very quickly in future, especially for the ones who can’t make it to the international level.

“Look at the volume of people in this country, we are 1.4 billion, and only 11 can play for India. What will the others do? They have an opportunity to play white-ball cricket, it’s their strength, globally, across different franchises in the world. Grab that opportunity. It’s common sense, it’s their living. It’s their income. Nobody will be able to deprive them of this. They (players) are not contracted by BCCI. What stops them going?”

“Nothing like getting exposure. How much do they want to protect their own league? You’ve got to see where they come from, and rightly so. This is our league and protecting this league is paramount as far as our interest goes. But by letting certain players go, it’s not going to affect the league in any way,” he added.

Shastri, the former India all-rounder, signed off by saying he doesn’t feel sad about a potential shift in the cricketing world. “I don’t feel bad at all,” but he added that “one of the faculties of the game will suffer. I think it will be 50-over cricket.”