Number of IPL matches could be reviewed - Pataudi
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi has said the IPL governing council, of which he is a member, could consider reviewing the number of matches for the league next season. India's poor performance in the World Twenty20 this year has led to criticism suggesting their exit from the tournament was a consequence of a hectic IPL schedule. The IPL is set to stage 94 games in 2011, with the addition to two new teams, as opposed to 60 this year. Pataudi, while acknowledging that the increasing volume of cricket was proving stressful, said players would have to be mentally and physically tougher to adapt to the game's growing demands.
"We can look at this and say how do we reduce the matches. I think there is a need perhaps to review that," Pataudi told the news channel Times Now. "But it will be very difficult now to reduce the number of teams."
Pataudi said the decision to include two new teams and increase the number of games next season did meet opposition even within the governing council. "I can't exactly tell you what happened in the council meeting but it wasn't exactly a unanimous decision I assure you," he said. "A lot of people said there is too much cricket going on, but it was carried. It will be a long summer for cricket. Cricket is going to become more and more stressful as we continue, and people will have to be fitter and tougher mentally as well as physically."
MS Dhoni, India's captain, had said in the aftermath of his team's exit from the World Twenty20 that the travelling and the after-match parties during the IPL had contributed to tiredness among players. "I think Dhoni is not right about the IPL nights as much as he is right about the travelling. That's what really puts you under strain," Pataudi said. "Cricket is very strenuous nowadays.
"Players have to be absolutely single-minded about the game. They have to think about and focus on nothing but cricket and just forget everything else."
Meanwhile, Niranjan Shah, the IPL vice-chairman, has defended the league and lashed out against the Indian players for their "pathetic" performance. "Our cricketers have done very badly in the Twenty20 World Cup. It's really disappointing that they didn't win a single match in the Super Eight round. They must not try to offer excuses for their pathetic performance," Shah told reporters in Rajkot. "The players have to blame themselves. They must introspect where they went wrong or what went wrong. I think, except one or two players, most of them failed to do their jobs.
"I don't think players can complain now that they were tired because of IPL and hence they weren't in a position to give off their best in the West Indies. Most of them are quite educated and know their responsibilities well. If they felt the IPL after-parties weren't good for them, they shouldn't have gone there. Now when the Indian team has been bundled out of the tournament, I think it's ridiculous to blame the IPL and give petty excuses."
"Instead of blaming it, the IPL should be considered a good platform for practice for the players just before an important event like the T20 World Championship. But if the players feel that they're tired because of the IPL, they shouldn't play in it. There is no shortage of talented cricketers in India. There are so many of them to choose from. We shouldn't depend upon on only ten or 11 players."