It is important to put Indian farmers' interests before those of the IPL franchises, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has said in his column in the Times of India. His comments come in wake of the Public Interest Litigation filed in the Bombay High Court over IPL games - which require significant water usage on the field and pitch - being held in drought-hit Maharashtra, a state where farmer suicides have been a common tragedy year after year.
"The issue of drought is one such where many lives are at stake," Gavaskar wrote. "I am no expert on ground and pitch preparation and how much water will be consumed for it, nor do I know whether the water that will be saved if the matches are not played can be used to irrigate the lands that have become dry and parched. What, however, is without any doubt is that it is the farmers of this country that help put our food on the table and if their lives are at stake, then whatever needs to be done must be done to ensure that not even one life is lost.
"The BCCI… will no doubt do what is in the best interest of the nation. There will certainly be losses to the franchises if the games are moved out of their home grounds but, as happened in 2009 and 2014 when the tournament was moved to South Africa and UAE, the franchises will no doubt get compensated… It is a small price to pay, for the alternative could well be unnecessary loss of lives of those whose hard work gives us our daily roti and dal."
The Bombay High Court had adjourned the matter on Thursday, with the next hearing scheduled for April 12, meaning the IPL opener will go ahead as scheduled in Mumbai on Saturday.
Don't get caught up with age - Zaheer
Zaheer Khan, the newly appointed Delhi Daredevils captain, is set to take the field in recognised cricket for the first time in almost a year when his team play Kolkata Knight Riders on April 10. Zaheer, 37, retired from international cricket last October, and had missed half of Daredevils' season last year due to injury. But he is raring to go, he told the IPL website, and doesn't think he is too old for the format.
"I think it [T20 cricket] is about clear thinking and strategy, and if you are good enough and fit enough to play and cope with the pressures and demands of the format, then why not," he said. "At times we get caught up with numbers, be it statistics on the field or be it the age, so I think we all need to move on from that. There are plenty of guys who are playing the shortest format and been around for a long time.
"I always look ahead. It's a new season and a new start. Everyone put in a lot of work to get things together. We can't wait to get to Kolkata and play the first game."