Former England batter Mark Butcher feels that the ECB, by not agreeing to BCCI’s demands, have missed a golden opportunity to strengthen relations and potentially get Indian players to play in The Hundred. Butcher feels that the ECB have blown the chance to ‘have some leverage’ over the BCCI.
News of the BCCI ‘requesting’ the ECB to alter the schedule of the five-Test series irked loyalists, but the English board, much to the delight of the general public, made it clear that, even if the IPL is hosted in England, there will be all but no chance of the already-existing scheduled getting tweaked. The developments saw the BCCI zero-in on the UAE as the venue - despite several English counties expressing interest - and it is now highly likely that the remainder of the 2021 edition of the IPL will be played in the Middle East.
The developments have delighted many a purist, but, according to former English cricketer Mark Butcher, not agreeing to the BCCI’s demands will go down as a ‘missed opportunity’ for the ECB. Butcher believes that agreeing to the Indian board’s demands - to tweak the Test schedule - would have given the ECB leverage, which, he believes, they could have used to force the BCCI to get the likes of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni play in ‘The Hundred’.
"Well, listen. I take a deep breath here ... as does the nation. I think it's a massive missed opportunity," Butcher said during the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, reported TOI.
"...the ECB is absolutely desperate to make this (Hundred) work. They have to be, they have bet the house on The Hundred, but at every turn, it seems a greater power doesn't want it to happen.
"And so for me, this was the opportunity where you'll say 'Okay, we'll bite the bullet... We would do this for the BCCI on the proviso that we get Kohli, Dhoni, whoever we like, signed up for three years to play in The Hundred, starting 2022'."
According to Butcher, agreeing to the BCCI’s demands would have been a smart business decision which would have enabled a win-win situation for English cricket.
“And you have leverage for the first time ever: you have something that they need, that they want. Obviously, the BCCI will lose a lot of money if they don't get the IPL in the window," Butcher said.
"You also have the extraordinary spectacle of the IPL being finished at the behest or because of English cricket. And you use that lever in order to get something you desperately need. So I think there's an opportunity missed."
Earlier, there were reports which claimed that the BCCI were looking to send U23 players - capped and uncapped - to play in The Hundred, starting from the 2022 edition.