T20 cricket has constantly been on the rise. In fact, with the advent and evolution of T20 cricket, there are multiple leagues that are running all across the world. It was in 2007 that the inaugural World T20 was launched and since then the shortest format hasn’t looked back. The Indian Premier League (IPL) arrived in 2008 and a lot of other big leagues around the followed.
Thus, big players from all across the globe take part in these T20 leagues. However, with the hectic international schedule, the participation of the big stars is limited. But there are certain players who have chosen their franchise over the national team.
These are players who have snubbed national call-ups or advice from the national set-up to play for their respective franchises. Thus, here we look at five such cricketers who preferred franchise cricket over their national team.
1. Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle of Vancouver Knights. (Photo Source: Twitter)
There may not be a bigger T20 star than Chris Gayle in the history of the game. The Universe Boss has certainly played a huge role in the way T20 cricket has shaped up over the last decade or so. He has scored a staggering number of runs (over 13,000) in the shortest format. It may not be wrong to term him as the face of T20 cricket in the present day and age.
However, there have been multiple times in his career when he has opted to play franchise cricket in T20 leagues rather than turn out to play for West Indies. There were quite a few problems between Gayle and the West Indies Cricket Board. But the Jamaican opener has snubbed the national side on multiple occasions.
Even after all the rift with the board has been put to rest, he is picking and choosing the tournaments he wants to play for the Windies. At the moment, Gayle made himself unavailable for the T20I series against India and is currently leading the Vancouver Knights in the Global T20 Canada.
Hence, Gayle has been one of the best T20 players the world has seen but he has also left behind his national side for T20 leagues around the world and is still doing that.
2. Andre Russell
Andre Russell. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Andre Russell might be one of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball in the world at the moment. The West Indian all-rounder has been striking the ball really well in the recent past. However, constant injuries have kept him in and out of action.
Russell is one of the most genuine all-rounders in world cricket. He can walk into any side purely based on any one of his skills (batting or bowling). His ability to hit sixes at will makes him a red-hot proposition in T20 cricket. Thus, the 31-year-old all-rounder is one of the most-wanted cricketers in the shortest format.
Thus, he constantly features in multiple T20 leagues around the world. However, some of them have come at the expense of the national team as well. Russell has snubbed Windies cricket on more than one occasion to play for franchise cricket. He did that recently as well. The all-rounder deemed himself unfit for the T20I series against India and is currently playing in the Global T20 Canada.
3. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers & Marcus Stoinis. (Photo: IANS)
AB de Villiers is a superstar, there is no doubt about that. He will go down as one of the most versatile and dynamic batsmen in the history of the game. Very few players can adapt and adjust to different situations and conditions as well as de Villiers can. He has certainly established a legacy in South African cricket.
However, he has also left a small dark spot. There have been times when de Villiers has opted to play for franchises around the world at the expense of South Africa. He did not play Test cricket for almost two years as he was on a sabbatical. However, during that period, he did turn up for a few T20 leagues around the world which raised quite a few eyebrows.
In May 2018, he shocked the world when he announced his retirement from international cricket. However, post that, he has constantly featured in franchise cricket and has been associated with T20 leagues all around the world. Thus, the South African star has left a small dark spot in what has been a glorious career.
4. Mitchell McClenaghan
Mitchell McClenaghan of Mumbai Indians. (Photo: IANS)
Mitchell McClenaghan is another familiar face across T20 leagues around the world. He is an aggressive bowler who runs in hard and gives it everything. However, he last donned the New Zealand colours back in 2016. Be it ODIs or T20Is, it was in early 2016 that McClenaghan last featured for New Zealand in an international game.
The left-arm pacer has been around since 2007. However, he made his international debut in 2012. However, he soon climbed up the ladder and made a name for himself as a T20 bowler. Thus, in 2017, he snubbed a national contract in order to play for multiple T20 leagues around the world.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) did grant him his request. He could still be considered for selection but the selectors decided not to go that way. Thus, McClenaghan might’ve featured in almost every T20 league across the world but it has come after choosing franchise cricket over national duty.
5. Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
This might be a surprising name on the list. However, Kagiso Rabada has also preferred franchise cricket over the national team. It was only four years ago that Rabada made his international debut. However, he soon became South Africa’s pace spearhead.
Game after game, irrespective of the format, the South African fast bowler gave his everything. He was his side’s strike bowler. He played almost every game. Moreover, in the IPL earlier this year, he was the second-highest wicket-taker (25 scalps).
However, he failed to replicate his success for South Africa in the recently concluded World Cup. He picked up 11 wickets at an average of 36.09. However, he was coming on the back of a back niggle. The 24-year-old pacer hurt his back towards the end of the IPL season and thus, he looked a little out of sorts in the World Cup.
South African skipper Faf du Plessis had revealed that they didn’t want Rabada to play the IPL in order to keep him fresh for the World Cup. However, the pacer didn’t agree and travelled to India for two months and took part in the 12th edition of the IPL.
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