WA cricketers playing overseas during the off season face an uncertain future as T20 leagues across the globe are cancelled due to coronavirus.
With many local players recruited for overseas sides, there is growing concern the cancellation of smaller competitions could have a significant impact on Australian cricket.
Perth Scorchers player Tim David had just returned from Thailand after representing Singapore in the ACC Eastern Region T20 when the first wave of travel restrictions came in.
The Perth cricketer was due to continue his overseas commitments in the Everest Premier League and South Nottinghamshire Cricket League but arrived home to hear both tournaments had been cancelled.
Mr David says it is difficult to predict how some of the smaller international competitions would fare in the long term and whether they would be able to survive the coronavirus crisis.
“In the last few years there’s been a bit of a proliferation of franchise leagues for shorter form cricket and there were question marks over their financial backing to start with,” he says.
“Seeing major leagues like the AFL which you would think are bulletproof and other leagues in Australia having these concerns, it might look quite different going forward for some of these smaller leagues and they might not be able to run.”
As franchise cricket leagues have increased over the years, so too has the number of Australian players who are being recruited for overseas teams.
Foreign recruits make up 20 per cent of players in the Everest Premier League in Nepal with each team required to take on three international cricketers each season.
For Australian players in particular, overseas T20 competitions offer the opportunity to continue playing cricket during the off season in preparation for the home summer.
Tim David says he knows many cricketers are concerned the loss of income from cancelling leagues will mean clubs are no longer able to afford international recruits.
“When they come to rearrange the tournaments, I guess that’s part of the conversation and hopefully they can still go ahead, but there’s going to be such significant travel and health concerns going forward,” he says.
“It’s going to be quite complicated for them to be able to arrange tournaments, particularly at the drop of a hat.”
Mr David made his T20 International debut for Singapore last year and was named by the International Cricket Council as the squad’s player to watch.
This season he returned to represent the side once again and received the player of the tournament award.