New Delhi: Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar on Monday added fuel to the row over the Indian Premier League, saying the Test squad was distracted by the upcoming extravaganza.
Gavaskar questioned the players' commitment after India crashed by an innings and 90 runs in the second Test against South Africa in Ahmedabad on Saturday, their worst defeat at home in almost 50 years.
"The question that is being asked is whether the Indian team was sufficiently prepared for the Test match," Gavaskar wrote in his syndicated column in the Hindustan Times.
"The absence of some players for two whole days out of the three days between the first two Tests was strange to say the least.
"They could have done with an extra session at the nets rather than dancing at the launch of their (IPL) franchise."
Gavaskar, who heads the International Cricket Council's rule-making cricket committee, is himself a member of the IPL's governing council.
He also urged newly-appointed coach Gary Kirsten to rein in his players ahead of the third and final Test starting in Kanpur on Friday.
"Gary Kirsten better crack the whip, else some of the guys will ride roughshod over him," wrote Gavaskar.
"They should have been hard at the nets trying to get their wrist position and footwork right rather than practising their dancing steps.
"It's about time they realised that they are what they are, because of cricket."
Gavaskar's comments come a day after local media lashed out at the IPL, the multi-million dollar Twenty20 event starting on April 18 which has signed on the world's top players for the 44-day competition between eight city teams.
The mass circulation Hindustan Times had written on Sunday that "since so much money is riding on the IPL, the investors are bound to project this as the greatest show on earth so that they can lure people to watch it.
"But one is disappointed with the attitude of the BCCI, which does not seem to care that the players have to focus on the Test series right now and not on the IPL."