Former England captain Nasser Hussain has implicated that the rise of the T20 league has led to the death of West Indies cricket and several other low-ranked sides.
Hussain reasoned that the ‘Big 3’ in cricket are financially strong and have a chance of retaining players for international cricket, unlike the rest of the countries.
Since the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and several other T20 tournaments, West Indian players have actively participated in these competitions. With the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) unable to offer much pay, the Caribbean cricketers have missed several international games.
Instead, they have made themselves available to play franchise cricket due to the hefty paycheques on offer.
Speaking on the Sky Sports podcast, the 54-year-old wants the ICC to provide equal opportunities to all member nations to let the sport grow. He said:
“There has been a demise in West Indies cricket and that applies to Zimbabwe and all the other nations, while England, India and Australia [who can pay their players more] get stronger. The ICC must look at that because the sport is better when everyone is given an equal opportunity.”
The Chennai-born former cricketer addressed the WICB’s plight, stating that they have no choice but to play with the available players. Hussain continued:
“West Indies provide players for the IPL in their primetime home season and it affects them. West Indies have said they can’t do anything – either they let their players go or they try and keep them and the players just go anyway. They can’t win.”
West Indies, a powerhouse cricketing side in the 70s and 80s, are currently a shadow of the sides from those eras. Their rankings in all three formats are at an all-time low and most recently Two-time champions West Indies were dumped out of the ICC event after the Pooran-led side finished bottom in the group stage at the T20 World Cup.
The West Indies side suffered embarrassing defeats at the hands of Scotland and Ireland as the former champions failed to enter the Super 12 phase of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Hussain expressed his concerns about England players preferring to play franchise cricket over four-day cricket while using Sam Billings as an example. He added:
“It does concern me that there have been reports of England Lions players not wanting to go on tours because they want to go to T20 leagues. That’s fine if you are playing but some of the younger players may be carrying the drinks.”Sam Billings, as an example, did this and I only ever saw him with a bib on carrying a drink out to someone. He didn’t improve, he stagnated, so don’t be lured by the cash.”
Billings, who has played only three Tests to date, decided to skip IPL 2023 to be available to play county cricket and stay in the reckoning for a return to England’s red-ball side.