'We get Kohli, Dhoni… whosoever we like': Butcher feels ECB missed a trick by not entertaining BCCI's request

Updated on May 28, 2021 09:47 AM IST

As per reports, the ECB did not entertain the BCCI’s request to change the schedule of the five-Test series between India and England.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli greet each other(PTI)
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli greet each other(PTI)

Mark Butcher feels the England and Wales Cricket Board missed a golden opportunity when they decided to turn down BCCI’s request of altering the schedule for India vs England Test series in order to accommodate the IPL, saying the board could have used this as a golden ticket to get some of Indian cricket’s star players for The Hundred in the near future, whose maiden edition takes place this summer.

As per reports, the ECB did not entertain the BCCI’s request to change the schedule of the five-Test series between India and England, but Butcher reckons the English board could have done themselves a huge favour had they done the opposite.

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"I think it’s a massive missed opportunity. The ECB very, very rarely… in fact, I would go as far in the last 10-15 years as to say never, have something that the BCCI wants or needs. And with The Hundred sort of floundering because of Covid and overseas players cancelling contracts, not being able to come, this year is a bit of a write-off. The ECB are absolutely desperate to make this 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," Butcher said on the Wisden Weekly Podcast.

"And so for me, this was the opportunity where you’ll say ‘Okay, we’ll bite the bullet. We get the wrath of English cricket fans anyway: they hate us because of The Hundred. They hate us because we’re seemingly ignoring them at every single turn’. So you say ‘We’ll take it on the chin, they don’t like us anyway. We would do this for the BCCI on the proviso that we get Kohli, we get Dhoni, we get whoever we like, signed up for three years to play in The Hundred, starting 2022’."

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The IPL 2021 was suspended indefinitely after 29 matches and in order to hold the remaining half of the tournament, the BCCI was reportedly weighing its options of conducting the IPL in England, a request which was turned down despite certain County teams showing a willingness to host the T20 spectacle. Butcher feels England had the leverage in this, and they could have done themselves a world of good had they agreed to BCCI’s request.

"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. 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," Butcher added.

"I don’t know how realistic it [getting Indian players to feature in The Hundred] would have been, but unless you dangle that Damocles over their throat, you are never gonna know. If you say ‘Okay, we understand there’s a bit of a buy-in to it, and we understand and we want to help you and get the IPL done, however, this is the cost, this is what we want in return’. And if the BCCI says ‘No, we’ll rearrange it somewhere else’, it’s fine. You have nothing ventured, nothing gained."

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