Former cricketers slam Kirsten for IPL excuse

Former cricketers Sandeep Patil, Chandu Borde and Lalchand Rajput slammed coach Gary Kirsten for trotting out the IPL as the excuse for India's early exit.

updated: June 16, 2009 07:34 IST
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Former cricketers Sandeep Patil, Chandu Borde and Lalchand Rajput on Tuesday slammed coach Gary Kirsten for trotting out the Indian Premier League as the excuse for India's early exit from the Twenty20 World Cup in England.

"I'm surprised why he (Kirsten) has said that. If IPL is to be blamed then, pray, tell me how come players from England, South Africa and West Indies are praising it to prepare themselves for the World T20," Patil said.

Kirsten told reporters after the defending champions were knocked out by England on Sunday that because of the IPL, held in South Africa from April 18 to May 24, the support staff did not have enough time to work with the Indian team members, some of whom were carrying niggles, which affected their performance.

The IPL was given permission by the International Cricket Council and all other boards were also supporting it, apart from the BCCI (Cricket Board), the former India coach pointed out.

The former flamboyant middle order batsman laid the blame squarely on former South Africa opening batsman for the batting order muddle in the key match against England on Sunday.

"How did he allow three match-winners Yuvraj Singh, (captain) Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan to sit padded up while sending someone else (Ravindra Jadeja) up the order? Why did the experiment with the batting order take place in a crunch match," Patil queried.

He also said Dhoni has had a brilliant run as captain and need not be lampooned for one failure.

"He's done a brilliant job in the last two years. We were also knocked out early in the World Cup (2007) when Rahul (Dravid) was the captain and Greg (Chappell) was the coach. It's just one failure. He has accepted it and it's time to move on," Patil said.

Another former batsman Lalchand Rajput, who was the coach when India defied odds to win the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in 2007 in South Africa, did not accept Kirsten's excuse for the team's early exit.

"In 2007 we had just three days to prepare for the tournament and we reached South Africa in two batches, 6 or 7 from England and the rest from India," the ex-Test opener said.

Rajput too pointed out that players like Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa, Dwayne Bravo of West Indies and Roelof Van der Merwe of South Africa have all carried their form in the IPL to the World T20.

"Gibbs, Bravo and Van der Merwe are all doing well in the world championship. We have to accept that we did not play well as a team. We have to give credit to the others for their strategies which worked against India. I still feel we are a very good all round team," Rajput said.

Rajput, however, did not think too much about Kirsten's suggestion that for the next world event in 2010 in the West Indies, Indian players should be kept away from the IPL. "That's too far ahead and the scheduling has to be done," he said.

Former captain Chandu Borde, who has had stints as chief selector and cricket manager of the national team, also did not agree with Kirsten's point of view and praised the IPL as having benefited the Indians.

"All our boys were used to this Twenty20 because of IPL. I don't know what's the difference between IPL and this World T20? The two are the same. IPL was the ideal preparation for the World Championship," said Borde, who felt wrong batting order was responsible for the teams defeat against England.

"I thought Dhoni should have come up a bit instead of Ravindra Jadeja as he's one batsman who cannot be stopped once he starts getting into the groove," Borde said.

Borde, who was the Test batting mainstay in his days, felt that England had used the short-pitched balls to good effect against the Indians similar to the manner in which they initially tasted success in 2007 in an ODI against England by bowling wide of the off stump.

"We had countered it then by practicing against such tactics in the nets. As you know we won that series," Borde recalled.

The former India skipper was of the opinion that R P Singh, who had one over left in his kitty, should have been tried out instead of Ishant Sharma at the end of the England innings.

"R P had one over left and I thought Dhoni should have used him instead of Ishant Sharma as he (RP) can take the ball away from the left-handers, he said.