Indian news July 2, 2009

Place India cap before IPL, Gavaskar says

Cricinfo staff

Sunil Gavaskar has joined the debate over the IPL by saying young players should aim for the India cap instead of being lured by the riches of the league. Various influential cricket figures, including India's coach Gary Kirsten, have warned against the rising importance of the IPL in world cricket.

"Today, parents are encouraging their children to take up cricket as a career option because of the IPL and the amount of money it provides. But the worrying factor is far too many youngsters see IPL as the be all and end all," Gavaskar, a member of the IPL's governing council, said while delivering the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture in Mumbai.

Gavaskar said the IPL could not be their ultimate goal and pointed out the worrying trend among young cricketers to pull out of domestic matches in order to be injury-free ahead of the tournament. "A lot of players miss out on domestic cricket before the IPL to avoid injuries. That is what we have to be very very careful about, the IPL being seen as the be all and end all, not the India cap," Gavaskar said.

He also advised cricket authorities to guard the youngsters against the unbelievable amount of money being paid to even inexperienced players in the IPL. "The other thing to guard against is players in the age group of 19-22 going the wrong way [because of the money factor]. Younger players get carried away by fame, publicity and success," Gavaskar said.

Gavaskar added that the IPL was not to blame for India's debacle at the ICC World Twenty20. "I don't think IPL can be conceived in any other way," he said. "The home and away concept is so essential to it. This time it was played in South Africa, even there this (concept) worked. Our team got outplayed (in the World T20). I would not look too much into it."

India's batsmen had their weakness against the short ball exposed in England, and in the ongoing ODI series in West Indies, but Gavaskar felt this was not a long-term problem. "There's a lot of cricket (that has) been played where there were not many short balls, and so the balance tends to be on the front foot," he said. "Then when suddenly there are short pitched deliveries, you couldn't adjust to it. I think that's what happened (to the Indian team). I think there need not be too much concern about it."

On the domestic front, the 2009-10 season will not include the Deodhar Trophy, a 50-over competition played between the five zones, as it was scrapped by the BCCI owing to a crammed domestic schedule. Again, Gavaskar said the IPL had nothing to do with the decision. "I don't think its due to the IPL. There is so much of international cricket -- the Champions League, Sri Lanka's visit and the tour of Bangladesh. I am sure it will be there (in the coming seasons)," he said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Siddharth on July 6, 2009, 4:01 GMT

    IPL should be invoked into the domestic circuit with more number of teams & all the players playing for their home states, akin to the Twenty20 Cup in England. They are not facing any controversy, as they are preparing players for international competitions. Instead of Bollywood artists, teams should be franchised by the companies in their own states. Bollywood is simply

  • renu on July 4, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    I completely agree with him.But if IPL started when he's playing,he also would have been facing the same situation, what our Indian players are now in.I think IPL preceded before World cup T20 just because all players get practice in that particular format.But they forgot that players all are in different teams and all the fifteen players played in England are in Great form.But they didn't played a single match as a team expect the practice matches.I and every Indian feeling this because our Indian team ended up loosing all the matches in super 8 stage. Our opinions would have been different if We won the world cup.

  • Ram on July 4, 2009, 16:14 GMT

    I respect SMG for his cricketing skills but when it comes to commenting on specific issue he tends to throw up a controversial and spicy view than suggesting a solution. Money is required for the growth of the sport and to reward thousands of talented cricketers who do not necessarily make it to the ranks of international players. There are enough stories on the economic state of 60's & 70's greats. I am not sure if you can even find a single youngster who is would put IPL before the country, Sir can you provide some examples on where this though has come up from?. I think the franchisees should work on growing the cricketers to take them to next level and should be rewarded for that.

  • Shruti on July 4, 2009, 7:02 GMT

    What has SMG done for the Indian cricket post retirement besides minting money as a commentator? He was not airing his comments free on TV during IPL ,was he?This man has a none to kind views on England and Australia but has not missed any chance to go there and rake moolah.He was great but a self centered cricketer unlike lion hearted Kapil ,classy Viswanath or a less successful but cavalier Srikkanth.SMG must take a lead in contributing more tangibly to Indian cricket rather than simply paying lip service at various fora and continue running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.

  • Deepak on July 3, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    I strongly Agree with Mr. Gavaskar. Really Indians are always in the mood of 20-20. They have to overcome from that.

  • arv on July 3, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    I disagree with the great legend.

    I think everyone wants to play in the IPL because it is recognized and gets publicity. Hence if you play well you get noticed. Eg, Yusuf Pathan, R Jadeja, A Nayar, Pragyan Ojha and tons of other players

  • Felix on July 3, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    I dont think Mr Gavaskar here is referring to IPL as the central subject - all he is saying is that one should cherish the Indian cap more - and this is something the master has always said (during commentary in an ODI when Sehwag would throw his wicket running as if he getting off the DTC bus in Delhi rather than sprinting and diving to save his wicket)! Second, again I dont think the master is suggesting anything for India's pathetic display in the WT20. I think the selectors got it terribly wrong. Gambhir and Sehwag should nto have been in the team. We should also have considered men in form - and I would go to the extent of saying, Kumble should have been in the squad - my logic is simple - if you are in form you are IN - age no bar - especially in T20. Thirdly, I really feel amused whenever people pick up the issue of players in IPL being paid so much 20 yr old or 50 what difference does it make? This is purely demand and supply - they get you big bucks so they deserve it!

  • Theena on July 3, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    If India had won would Mr Gavaskar continue praising Lalit Modi as the second coming of the messiah? I seem to recall a horrible piece of nepotism-fueled commentry during an IPL match this past season when Gavaskar said something to the effect of '..and that's the beauty of IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi'. I had to stop myself from puking at the time.

  • kaiser on July 3, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    Gavaskar gave his life to cricket and Indian cricket especially, His experience cannot be ignored and his suggestions are valid. Even a layman can understand the implications of certain unhealthy trends in cricket going on and on. You cannot ignore the time span and efforts of Gavaskar put in practice and the resilience of the guy. If not for these committed guys then Indian cricket could be nowhere as compared to it these days. Intelligent guys' advice should not be ignored. He didn't earn money by playing for India but he stabilized Indian cricket, now he has to work for commentary teams to earn after giving his life to Indian cricket. I don't think current crop of Indian cricketers in the team would be doing commentary to earn after retirement. He is still doing a service to Indian cricket. Take him seriously.

  • Sampath on July 3, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    Few months ago I sent a mail to Tony Greig Show about too much T20s & thought pasting same as my comment. My memory goes back to ICC awards night in Dubai, where Mahela expressed his views about playing too many T20s. He was in the belief that we should know where to draw the line since the Test match cricket is the ultimate of the game. There is a trend in SL where T20 tournaments are organized at school level which paved the way for so called "Private Cricket Academies to produce instant cricketers. We all were privileged to watch Great Aravindas, Laras, Jayasuriyas, Sachins, Manjrekars , Waughs because of the excellent basics & techniques they learn t at the school levels. Can the ICC intervene & stop this disaster by limiting T20 to First Class cricket & above ?

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