New Delhi: Two legends of world cricket, Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan on Friday held IPL responsible for the Indian team's recent downfall, with the former going on to say that for some Indian players national duty comes second to the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
Without naming anyone, Gavaskar questioned some Indian players' complete focus on IPL. "If you look at the events that took place immediately after the 2011 World Cup, you will know the guys who actually took their places for granted, those who did not make themselves available and preferred to play in the IPL and then go for surgeries," Gavaskar said.
"I think those are the guys who instead of looking at India were looking at contributing for their IPL franchises. If at all you need to take a rest, you need to take a rest from club matches," he told NDTV, when asked about India's ODI series loss to Pakistan.
Gavaskar also blamed the team's batting department for India's shoddy performance as the hosts gave Pakistan an unassailable 0-2 lead in the three-ODI series at the Eden Gardens last evening. "It's the batsmen, they are the ones who are known much more than bowlers (in India). They are the ones who are responsible. Indian batsmen are terribly out of form since 2011 World Cup. They have struck form sporadically," he said.
Gavaskar's views were supported by Imran, who too feels that IPL has a big role to play in Indian cricket team's decline in the past one year. "Unless Indian cricket deals with IPL, unless you work out a balance between Test cricket and Twenty20 cricket and the commercial aspect of IPL, Indian cricket will go down rapidly," the former Pakistan skipper warned.