South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis made a staggering statement on T20 cricket, saying the rapid rise of T20 leagues around the world pose a massive threat to international cricket.
While speaking during a virtual media interaction ahead of the resumption of Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6, the Peshawar Zalmi batsman said that it is now essential to find a balance between franchise and international cricket.
"T20 leagues are a threat for international cricket. The power of the leagues are growing year by year and obviously, in the beginning, there might be just 2 leagues around the world and now it's becoming 4,5, 6,7 leagues in a year. The leagues are just getting stronger," said du Plessis.
He added: "I think it's important that in future you try and see how its possible both can co-exist because it becomes a choice moving forward into the future then it can be a real threat for the international game."
The right-hander said that international cricket might end up meeting the same fate as football in the future, in which the domestic leagues have become a format of massive importance.
"That is a huge challenge. Maybe in 10 years' time cricket will almost be like soccer where you have your world events and in between, you have these leagues around the world where players can play," the veteran South African batsman said.
The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings batsman cited the example of West Indies players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo among others, saying many current players might opt to become freelance cricketers going forward, which would be a big loss for their respective national teams.
"If I take someone like myself you go and play 2 or 3 or 4 leagues around the world but I can't predict the future. There are more and more players...(who want to play in T20 Leagues).
"West Indies probably is the first team that started doing it. All of their guys moved away from the international team to the T20 domestic circuit. So the West Indian team lost a lot of their key players. It's starting to happen with South Africa also," he said.
Thirty-six-year-old du Plessis was last seen in action during the first half of IPL 2021. Before the tournament was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis in India, the CSK opener scored 320 runs in seven matches.
PSL 6 will resume on June 9.