BCCI should improve domestic cricket: Kapil

February 21st, 2008 - 7:17 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Former cricketers are apprehensive about the impact of the multi-million-dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) on the game’s future and the already neglected domestic cricket. India’s World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, the man who may well have propelled the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) into fast-tracking the IPL plans, has mixed feelings about the way the IPL auction was conducted Wednesday in Mumbai.

“As a cricketer, I felt sad to see such an auction. It just did not seem right. Our top stars and legends being put under the hammer. It might have been a big tamasha (show), but it did not seem right,” said Kapil, himself the architect of the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).

Refusing to be drawn into a discussion how the IPL compares with the ICL, Kapil said, “Only time will tell”.

On the projected millions accruing from the IPL, he said: “If the board was getting so much money, why not improve Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and cricket at the grassroots level? As it is, we don’t see top players playing Ranji Trophy - in fact even younger players are skipping it. With so much money in a 44-day tournament, why will people want to play Ranji Trophy?

“I am sure there were many ways of making sure cricketers get a lot of money and also improve the game, but auctions and such methods do not seem the right way.”

Asked whether the auctioning and the prices various players got was fair, Kapil said: “It is not for me to say. There were players for sale and bidders were trying to get deals. Some auctioning obviously didn’t make sense.”

But he refused to take names. “Maybe the current popularity also plays a part in the pricing.”

Kapil’s views were echoed by his former India and Haryana teammate Ashok Malhotra, who said that due to the IPL, domestic and international cricket would suffer.

“Tell me how many domestic cricketers are going to play in this tournament. This is just eyewash in the name of improving domestic cricket. I don’t consider Twenty20 as a true index of cricket. If they have to improve domestic cricket, they should do with traditional forms of cricket,” said Malhotra.

“Do you think by glamorising Twenty20, we can get future Sachin Tendulkars and Rahul Dravids?” he asked.

Malhotra also asked why Sourav Ganguly, Tendulkar and Dravid, who pulled out of the Twenty20 World Championship last year, were now taking the initiative to lead their respective cities in IPL’s Twenty20.

“This might be some kind of pension fund for the senior players, who are in the twilight of their career, but this is also setting a bad precedent for the younger lot,” he said.

Former India coach, Anshuman Gaekwad felt that it is too early to predict what IPL holds for Indian cricket.

“It is good that a lot of money is coming in. Now players will take up cricket as a viable career option, but it is too early to predict the impact of IPL on Indian cricket,” said Gaekwad.

Madan Lal, another former India coach and Kapil’s World Cup-winning teammate, is apprehensive of the frenzy and moolah riding on IPL and said that too much of T20 might sound death knell of the national championship.

“First-class cricket might be finished. As it is, hardly anyone watches first-class cricket and now who will watch Ranji Trophy and other domestic matches? The BCCI should have changed the structure of first-class cricket to make it interesting,” he said.

“Bring in overseas players to make the Ranji Trophy format interesting. After all, it is here that the bowlers learn to take five-wicket hauls and batsmen to score centuries.”

Madan Lal said: “Both ICL and IPL have been propped only because of ego clashes. There should not be an overkill of T20. Who will watch 50-overs or Test cricket now? Yes, in India stadiums will be full for all matches, but what about other countries? We don’t know what will happen in the longer run. It will take some time for things to clear up.”

He said BCCI should use some money to improve the infrastructure of domestic cricket.

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