Has IPL played down importance of India cap?

Many believe the lure of money and fame the IPL offers has swayed the attention of the country's young cricketers from getting India cap.

updated: October 14, 2009 14:17 IST
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Now many believe that India's current selection problems are a result of the Indian Premier League. The lure of money and fame the IPL offers, it seems, has swayed the attention of the country's young cricketers from getting that all-important India cap.

Sunil Gavaskar expressed this sentiment recently and now the board's chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty too has blamed Lalit Modi's billion-dollar baby.

In fact Prof Shetty was quoted as saying this in a lecture on Tuesday: "Some youngsters feel that playing in the Ranji Trophy is not as important as playing in the Indian Premier League."

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India discard Robin Uthappa, who plays for Bangalore in the IPL and represents Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy, however, asserted that domestic cricket was still important but the preparations get affected by the hectic schedule.

"For cricketers like me or cricketers playing for state, Ranji Trophy is very crucial. We put our heart and soul into every game that we play. So I don't think the intensity of the game will be dropped off, but then most certainly the preparation and the time spent to prepare for tournaments like Ranji Trophy will be affected," said Uthappa, who has played 38 ODIs for India.

Apparently the BCCI believes that some of the younger members of Team India weren't exactly hurt after the first round exit from the Mini World Cup.

"A senior player said that youngsters did not feel sadness after the Mini World Cup (ICC Champions Trophy) loss. There is a change in the attitude in focus which is on things other than cricket," Shetty said.

But IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi said Shetty's comments were taken out of context by the media.

"The statement has been taken out of context completely. He (Ratnakar Shetty) was talking about how we are promoting new tournaments for youngsters etc to a group at CCI. And in discussion IPL came up. Yes it has made people rich but that's an accepted fact."

"But to construe that it kills everything is totally out of context and press has started to make a mockery of everything said. Let's get real and not blow everything out of proportion," Modi said.

Professor Shetty, who is BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer, too, came out with a clarification in less than 24 hours.

"Some youngsters need to realise that India when participates in a world event, it is of the greatest stature. It's a prestige for us and pride for the country," Shetty said.

Despite what Professor Shetty might say publicly, many people do believe that the huge IPL money does present its problems. It's no secret that Rohit Sharma now drives a car worth a crore, yet it's believed that a loss of focus has cost him his national cap.

Former cricketer Kirti Azad cites an example to vindicate his point.

"Yuvraj Singh or others say that I might do anything in ODIs or Twenty20, until and unless I am successful in Test cricket I will not consider myself as to be complete cricketer," Azad said.

Yet there is the other side of the story. An Irfan Pathan may no longer be part of even the 30 probables of the Champions Trophy, yet he makes a good living as an IPL player.

An early exit from World T20 and the Champions Trophy may have dented the image of Team India, but not the spirit of MS Dhoni's men. Unlike in the past, when many stars would shut themselves out after a loss, the Generation X of Indian cricket believes in living life to the fullest and that might not have gone very well with the establishment.