Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan to play for Dubai Capitals in ILT20

Uthappa has been signed directly by the Capitals, one of the six franchises in the ILT20, sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board. The 37-year-old is one of the first high-profile Indian players to retire from Indian cricket to take up the opportunity to play in an overseas T20 league. Uthappa said that he wanted to play in foreign T20 leagues while also being an active player in Indian domestic cricket and IPL, but BCCI rules did not allow him to do so. Retiring from international and Indian cricket, Uthappa will now be able to fulfill that wish and he is keen to participate in other tournaments like The Hundred, Caribbean Premier League and Big Bash League in the future.

“It’s something I wanted to do [play in overseas T20 leagues], Uthappa told ESPNcricinfo, now that I have retired, it gives me a chance. I consider myself a student of the game. So when I go and play in different conditions of the world, I will only enrich my knowledge and experience and knowledge about the game. Tomorrow if I want to be a coach, then when I am having a conversation with the boys, I have to take some kind of stand. I believe all these experiences will add value to him.

“Basically, it has to do with growing a lot as a cricketer. Since I haven’t had the opportunity in the last few years to go out of India and play in different conditions. I hope I do. [now] To be able to go to different parts of the world and play leagues, not just Dubai, but also outside the subcontinent – hopefully South Africa, England (The Hundred), Australia (BBL) and the Caribbean (CPL) next year. It gives me access to better myself, even try to grow my horizons as a human being, experience different cultures, places and people. It will only add to my values ​​as far as cricket is concerned, whatever I decide to do later.”

Uthappa, who played 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is in an international career that spanned from 2006 to 2015, also played 205 IPL games, spanning 15 seasons, for six different franchises. He enjoyed a stellar career of late with the Chennai Super Kings, scoring a crucial 63 off 44 balls in the first qualifier for the 2021 title and 31 off 15 balls in the final. He started the 2022 season with two half-centuries in his first five innings, but his form dipped after that as he reached double digits just once in his last six IPL innings.
Yousuf, 40, played 57 ODIs and 22 T20Is for India between 2008 and 2012. He was a huge part of the Rajasthan Royals team that became IPL champions for the first time, excelling in the role of a finisher. He was the man of the match in the final in 2008 and still holds the record for the fastest IPL century by an Indian, reaching in only 37 balls, Yusuf won the IPL twice more with Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012 and 2014 and will retire in 2021 with 4852 T20 runs and 99 T20 wickets.
The BCCI has not allowed active Indian players to participate in franchise leagues other than IPL. A handful of players who have done so – Virender Sehwag in the T10 league, Yuvraj Singh in the Global T20 in Canada – have been able to do so only after announcing their retirement. Players have spoken about their desire to participate in foreign leagues; For instance, Suresh Raina suggested in 2020 that the BCCI allow players without central contracts to explore overseas options, but the board has not taken any such step.
The topic was hotly debated after India’s semi-final loss in the recent T20 World Cup in Australia, with ESPNcricinfo experts Anil Kumble and Tom Moody suggesting that overseas exposure could help India’s players improve their skills in the format. Will help, but other famous names disagree. India’s current head coach Rahul Dravid said that allowing Indian players to play in foreign leagues would hurt India’s domestic cricket as several tournaments including BBL, SA20 and ILT20 clash with India’s domestic season. Former India coach Ravi Shastri and former India left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan echoed Dravid’s views, with Shastri suggesting that young Indian players already get too much overseas experience through India A tours.

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