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ICC T20 World Cup 2022: Dravid admits English players utilised BBL experience to the fullest

ICC T20 World Cup 2022: England thwarted India by ten wickets in the semis in Adelaide on Thursday, as Rahul Dravid admitted that the English's experience of playing in the BBL came in handy.

Nov 11, 2022, 12:43 PM IST

An extensive experience playing the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia contributed to Jos Buttler and Alex Hales' absolute dominance over India in the second ICC T20 World Cup semi-final, admitted head coach Rahul Dravid on Thursday. Buttler (80*) and Hales (86*) added 169 runs in just 16 overs to completely embarrass India by ten wickets in a high-profile semi-final. Hales has played the maximum amount of BBL among the current English group, having donned the Melbourne Renegades and Sydney Thunders jerseys.

"I mean, sure, there's no doubt that England -- a lot of their players have come here and played. In this tournament, it certainly showed. It's tough," Dravid admitted that the winners had an advantage. Buttler has also played for the Thunders, and the England openers have plied their trade against local team Adelaide Strikers on this ground.

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doesn't allow any active Indian cricketer to play in overseas Twenty20 (T20) T20 leagues. "I think it's complicated for Indian cricket because a lot of these tournaments happen right in the peak of our season," said Dravid when asked if playing in the BBL would benefit the Indians.

"I think it's a huge challenge for us. Yes, I think many of our boys may miss out on the opportunities of playing in many of these leagues, but if you were to -- it's really up to the BCCI to make that decision," Dravid landed the ball on parent body's court. The BBL is held right at the time of the Ranji Trophy; hence, there is no chance that any Indian youngsters will get a chance to play. Letting players play in other leagues will finish India's domestic tourneys.

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"The thing is, it's [BBL] right in the middle of our season, and with the kind of demand there would be for Indian players, if you allowed all of them to play in these leagues, we would not have a domestic cricket. Our domestic trophy, our Ranji trophy, would be finished, and that would mean Test cricket would be finished," Dravid said.

The BCCI will face a catch-22 situation if they open the doors for its players to ply their trade in foreign leagues. "I know a lot of people talk about it, but we have to be very careful when we -- we have to understand the challenges that Indian cricket faces or the BCCI would face in a situation like this," added Dravid.

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If Indian players are allowed in other leagues, Dravid feels Indian cricket will become like West Indies, struggling to keep the Test format afloat. "You'd see all our boys -- like many boys being asked to play leagues right bang in the middle of our season. We've seen what that's done to West Indian cricket, and I would not want Indian cricket to go that way. It would certainly affect our Ranji trophy; it would affect Test cricket. Indian boys playing Test cricket is pretty important for the Test game, as well, I would think," he responded.

"We were 20 runs short in Powerplay overs"
Dravid agreed that the team wasn't good enough against England on the day. "Over the last year, we have played some good T20 cricket. Even in this tournament, I think we've had our moments. But, on the day, we were just not good enough here," he said.

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For Dravid, the loss in another knockout game is "disappointing but not a debacle". "Yeah, it's disappointing. Debacle, I'm not sure is the right word, but disappointing certainly," he voiced. The coach was the first to admit India fell short of the par score by posting 168/6.

"Maybe when the game started, the boys said it was a little tacky and a bit slower. They bowled well. I thought they were excellent up front. They hit terrific lengths and didn't let us get away. We felt at that 15-over mark we were probably 15-20 short, and we had a good last five overs," explained Dravid.

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No swing for Bhuvi, Arshdeep
The new ball didn't swing for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh, which was one primary reason for India's heavy defeat. "The ball probably didn't swing here as much as in other parts of Australia or other conditions. It played a little bit into their hands, and class players like that, both Buttler and Hales, their partnership was fantastic. I think they just put the pressure on us, never let that go, and even when our spinners came on a wicket, we thought we might be able to control the game," Dravid reasoned.

(With inputs from PTI)