Dubai, Apr 19: Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga came down heavily on the Indian cricket board BCCI and said the Indian Premier League can only produce “butchers” and not “classical” cricketers.
Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to World Cup glory in 1996, said he felt sorry for Indian cricket that way they were playing Test cricket.
“I feel very sorry for Indian cricket. The way they are going they are heading towards a disaster. They won the World Cup but look at the way they are playing Test cricket. They are losing to most of the countries and don't produce any more Gavaskars, Vengsarkars or Viswanaths, Tendulkars, Dravids and Laxmans. I am talking about classical cricketers. They will now produce butchers because of the IPL,” Ranatunga was quoted as saying in the “Gulf News” English newspaper in Dubai.
The cricketker-turned politician said India was controlling all other cricket boards with money power.
“Most countries are now being controlled by the Indian Cricket Board because they are the kingpin and have all the money. In the International Cricket Council (ICC), when India says something, all the others keep their mouths shut because they are dependent on Indian money. The ICC board officials are there to get money for their country rather than promote and protect the game properly.”
When asked how IPL is going to affect the game, he explained: “It has already started to show. Players now prefer to play IPL rather than for their country. Malinga has retired from Test cricket because he wants to play in the IPL and our board did nothing. You cannot pick and choose. The IPL is entertainment for a public who does not understand the game.”
He continued: “People who understand this lovely game will never get into the shorter version. I like the way the West Indies cricket board handled the issue of the IPL. They allowed their players to go and play in the IPL and continued to stage their international matches against Australia. In the case of Sri Lanka, they played two Test matches and cancelled the third and also the one-day series to go and play in the IPL. We have a spineless cricket board that allowed this to happen. By doing this when we go to England we will also get to play only two Test matches. It is the younger generation who will lose by such acts. How can you stop the entire country from playing international cricket just to play in the IPL? There are seven cricketers from Sri Lanka in the IPL out of which three or four are playing regularly and the rest are sitting on the bench. More than 300 cricketers are forced to stay at home doing nothing because of the IPL. It is not only hampering Sri Lankan cricket, but the entire world.”
He said Twenty20 cricket was entertainment. “It is entertainment and you don't have to have a technique. I was so glad when I saw Sunil Gavaskar bat for the first time. It was like an art and you looked at him and you can watch him play the entire six hours. You don't have that calibre of cricketers in India. Once the days of Laxmans, Dravids and Tendulkars are over then it is all gone. You take Australia, they are more concerned about their traditional cricket than others. Even Pakistan, though struggling for money, is playing traditional cricket,” he told the Dubai newspaper.