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.