Owais Shah could be English trailblazer in T20 freelance world.
Owais Shah could be the first leading freelance English cricketer – as the influence of lucrative T20 leagues grow.
Shah, 34, is already a regular on the circuit. He currently plays in the IPL, Big Bash and is part of the Inaugural BPL.
With Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe also having leagues and the provision for ones in the Caribbean and United States, more options are becoming available.
The Essex batsman has little chance of regaining his England place and with a chance to secure his family’s financial future it is easy to understand why he is considering the move.
His county coach Paul Grayson understands players wanting to play in these leagues but does not think freelancing goes hand-in-hand with county cricket.
The Yorkshireman told ESPN Cricinfo: “Of course we can understand players wanting to take part in these leagues. It’s a short career and who wouldn’t want to earn as much as they can? We all understand that and not many of us would turn it down,
“But maybe enough is enough. Maybe the time has come to put our foot down. We want our players to be 100% committed to Essex.”
The Eagles struggled across all formats of the game last year and Grayson believes the IPL played a part, adding: “We missed our IPL players for the first seven Championship games and were always playing catch-up.”
With players unwilling to spurn the chance of big money and the counties not wanting to lose players, the time for freelance players seems to be coming sooner rather than later.
The ex-player and coach agrees: “We are going to see freelance players very, very soon and it could be that Owais is one of the first.”