Indian cricket June 19, 2009

Ranatunga slams BCCI over IPL scheduling

Cricinfo staff

Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, has said the BCCI "sacrificed national interest" and hurt India's chances at the ICC World Twenty20 by giving the IPL more importance.

His comments come soon after India coach Gary Kirsten blamed the fatigue caused by the IPL and the minor injuries picked up during the tournament for the team's lacklustre showing at the World Twenty20.

"I'm surprised that the Board of Control for Cricket in India gave more importance to a private venture which has its support," Ranatunga told the Kolkata-based Telegraph. "In fact, I find it unbelievable. Preparing for the World T20 should've been the priority instead of counting millions and billions of dollars...

"I'm sure every Indian player tried his best, played his heart out, but the mind and the body didn't respond. I have sympathy for them, it's the board which sacrificed national interest by scheduling the IPL so close to the World T20. Money is important, yes, but it shouldn't eventually kill cricket. A big worry is that people who've never played the game are the ones calling the shots in quite a few boards."

Ranatunga has long been a critic of the Twenty20 format, once likening it to "three-minute Maggi noodles (Bang, bang, and it is over. For me, it is not cricket)".

When it was suggested that he was in a minority as most administrators were now swearing only by T20, Ranatunga said: "I'll be interested to see how many players make themselves available for a T20 series where charity is the motive, say raising funds for the famished in Africa... I'd like to see just how many turn up if there's no monetary incentive..."

The World Twenty20 is Kumar Sangakkara's first tournament as Sri Lankan captain and Ranatunga said it was too soon to assess his leadership abilities.

"You need luck, not brains, to captain in T20. Indeed, you don't have to be a thinker and it's not necessary to be creative. Where I'm concerned, T20 isn't proper cricket. If T20 becomes the yardstick for judging players, then Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar won't be India's greatest in the past three decades. That honour would probably go to Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan."

When he was chief of Sri Lanka Cricket last year, Rantunga had urged his country's players to give priority to a hastily-arranged full tour of England rather than the IPL.