Mumbai:Former captain Sunil Gavaskar on Thursday advised young cricketers to aim for the India cap and said playing in the cash-rich Indian Premier League could not be their ultimate goal.
"Today, parents are encouraging their children to take up cricket as a career option because of the IPL and the amount of money it provides. But the worrying factor is far too many youngsters see IPL as the be all and end all," Gavaskar said at the inaugural Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture here.
The former opener also saw a worrying trend among the youngsters to pull out of domestic matches in order to be injury-free ahead of the IPL.
"A lot of players miss out on domestic cricket before the IPL to avoid injuries. That is what we have to be very very careful about, IPL being seen as the be all and end all, not the India cap," Gavaskar said.
He also advised cricket authorities to guard the youngsters against going astray because of the unbelievable amount of money being paid to even inexperienced players in the IPL.
"The other thing to guard against is players in the age group of 19-22 going the wrong way (because of the money factor). Younger players get carried away by fame, publicity and success," said Gavaskar and mentioned that it is at such times cricketers like Sardesai, who died exactly two years ago, are missed.
"When I was chairman of the National Cricket Academy some years ago, I wanted mentors or guides for these players. We need players like Dilip Sardesai, who guided me so well on my first tour of the West Indies in 1971," Gavaskar said.
The Test legend also lashed out at the current trend of batsmen and bowlers to badmouth the opposition after scoring a century or taking a wicket instead of just acknowledging the appreciative applause from their teammates and crowd.
"They should look at Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and learn. They may not always be smiling after scoring a century because of tiredness, but they always acknowledge the almighty, their teammates and the crowd. They are not abusive."
"They should realise this is just a sport and is a team game," he said.
Recalling the roles played by Sardesai and Eknath Solkar on the 1971 tour to the West Indies, when the duo came to India's rescue time and again, Gavaskar said that while the former had been acknowledged by the late Vijay Merchant as the "Renaissance Man of Indian Cricket", Solkar has not been given his due.
"I would like the Board (BCCI) to institute a trophy for fielding in Eknath Solkar's name. No one after him has come even 50 per cent of what he was in fielding," he said.