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Foreign players will help domestic cricket - Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar hopes the introduction of foreign players in Indian domestic cricket will make significant contributions to the application levels and attitudes of the teams across the country.

Gavaskar is currently the chairman of the BCCI's technical committee, which recently allowed state associations to include four 'guest players' [ those from areas outside their jurisdiction] in their squad from the 2008-09 season onwards, up from the three previously permitted.

"Whenever a player was selected for India his state used to miss the contributions from him and no replacements would be immediately available," Gavaskar told Gulf News. "All states already had the right to include three guest players. The technical committee increased it to four by permitting one foreign player."

However, the committee attached a rider that required the overseas player to have played at least ten Tests or 20 ODIs. "We did not want people to come in and use our domestic tournaments as a learning ground, so we decided that the foreign player should have played in 10 Tests or 20 one-dayers," he said.

Gavaskar believed an overseas player who had played just one Test would not make any contribution to the domestic competitions. "If the foreign player is experienced our young Ranji Trophy players can look up to him and can learn something from him."

He was also optimistic about playing in India becoming a big draw for international cricketers. "A foreign player not playing for his national team or just out of the national reckoning may be ready to play. For such a player it might make sense financially too."

However, it's unlikely state associations in India will be able to match the sums the various franchises shelled out for the big names during the IPL. The BCCI is likely to increase the daily match fee for players taking part in domestic tournaments in the 2008-09 season to Rs. 37,000 [approximately US$840]; the pay hike, if implemented, will see an increase of Rs. 11,000 from last season.

The 2008-09 season will begin with the Irani Trophy match - between Ranji Trophy champions Delhi and Rest of India - from September 24.