Kolkata: Indian players, who have missed the West Indies tour after the exhaustive IPL, have found support from former skipper Sourav Ganguly who has backed their decision to rest.
Latest to join the country vs club debate, Ganguly said: "How can you ignore IPL? The country always comes first but you cannot ignore IPL."
"IPL would not be so successful without the likes of Tendulkars, Shane Warnes among others. It's very difficult to balance as the players are humans afterall," he said.
The Indian team is touring the West Indies without six seniors - Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan.
All these players, who were part of the World Cup winning team, played for their IPL franchises. While Sehwag, Gambhir and Yuvraj are missing the tour on medical grounds, Sachin, Zaheer and skipper Dhoni have been rested.
"Players are human beings. Every series is going to take toll on players. They need rest and some tours will be missed," Ganguly said in their defence.
"But at the same time IPL is so big. It's very difficult to balance as BCCI wants all its players to take part in IPL."
About Ranatunga's comments that IPL is creating a "monster", he said,"I know he is harping this for a long time. But I don't think IPL is a monster."
The Prince of Calcutta cited examples of Manoj Tiwary and Venugopal Rao who have been able to resurrect their fledgling careers courtesy IPL.
"Don't forget that it has made life for a lot of players. Only 14 players can represent the country, what happens to the fringe players who have done well in the domestic circuit? IPL has provided a platform to all of them. And more importantly, IPL has made them financially secured."
It is because IPL that someone like Paul Valthaty is now a household name.
"Look at Paul Valthaty, he had a tremendous success this year and he could be in Mumbai side, a team India opportunity also might be reckoning for him. It has done wonders for a lot of cricketers," he said.
"You need to bat for just three hours and as a bowler you have to deliver four overs maximum. While fielding on an average you get the bowl for about 8 times, it's three time more in other forms of cricket. Ask players like Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis, how difficult is to play a whole day in Test cricket."
On his bitter episode with KKR, Ganguly who represented Pune Warriors in IPL IV said: "It's time to move on. Afterall Gautam Gambhir moved on from Delhi Daredevils to become the highest paid IPL player, so did Yusuf Pathan. That's the way it is, it demands results."
However, he said Twenty20 cricket is not that difficult physically and is the least taxing on the body.
Ganguly, who will be hosting the Bengali version of the popular quiz show KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati), said," I have never rehearsed so hard for anything else before".
On comparisons with Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, Ganguly said: "Amitabh and SRK are actors. I am not. I guess I will do it differently."
"I want the show to be successful," he added.
He also spoke on the cancellation of the land allotment. Recently, the Supreme Court asked Ganguly to return the land that was allotted to him by the Chief Minister in 1999-2000.
"When you get land from the government you have to stick to rules. There must have been some mistakes. I will try and sort it out with the Chief Minister," Ganguly said.
Asked about Team India's new coach Duncan Fletcher, Ganguly said the Zimbabwean would find himself a perfect atmosphere to start his stint with.
"Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a great team. I am sure Duncan Fletcher will reap the benefits of joining the side who have been so successful and have quality players. Duncan will get a lot of confidence from it."
Ganguly also said that Dhoni and Co will find it difficult to "beat England in England".
India will embark on a two and half month tour of England starting from July where they will play four Test matches, five ODIs and two Twenty20 International apart from a number of matches against the county sides.
"India will win the series in the West Indies but it will be tough to beat England in England as they have enjoyed a lot of success at home in the recent past," the former India captain said at promotional event on Thursday.
One of the main reason for his apprehension is that there isn't much gap between the West Indies and England tours.
"It will be challenging to keep themeselves fit and fresh for the England series right after the tour to the West Indies," was his forthright assessment.
(With PTI inputs)