Bengal have withdrawn from the Global T20 Namibia tournament, where the Indian domestic team was expected to go up against the Namibia national men's team, a representative team from the PSL's Lahore Qalandars, and a South African domestic team. The reason, ESPNcricinfo has learnt, is the BCCI's refusal to allow Indian cricketers to take part in a T20 tournament outside India.
"There seems to be a problem because of the format, it appears that had it not been T20s, there wouldn't be an issue," a senior Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) functionary told ESPNcricinfo. The BCCI has traditionally denied its assets - the players - from playing in leagues overseas to protect the value of the IPL.
Though there has been no official word on the development, Cricket Namibia is understood to have informed the Qalandars management that the tournament would go on as planned, but now feature three teams instead of four.
On July 22, the CAB had named a 16-man team for the tournament, to be led by regular captain Abhimanyu Easwaran, and featuring prominent players like Shahbaz Ahmed, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep and Writtick Chatterjee. At the time, CAB joint-secretary Debabrata Das had told ESPNcricinfo, "The broadcasters for the tournament came before our president [Avishek Dalmiya] and invited us. We took the opportunity to play six-seven games before the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy [India's domestic T20 tournament for men], because we can get to play against a World Cup team."
For Namibia, the tournament is a chance to finetune their preparations for the men's T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia in October-November. At the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, Namibia finished fifth in Group 2 after making it from the preliminary round to the Super 12 stage. Namibia will play an ODI tri-series in Papua New Guinea after this T20 tournament before leaving for Australia, where they are grouped with Sri Lanka, Netherlands and UAE in the first round.
When it was scheduled to be a four-team tournament, it had been slotted from September 1 to 9 in the Namibian capital city of Windhoek. It could be a shorter tournament now, with Bengal's withdrawal.