Former India player Sunil Gavaskar has raised questioned the need for India ‘A’ tour to New Zealand at the same time as the senior side, when the Ranji Trophy is going on. He also said this is not the case when the Indian Premier League (IPL) takes place.
“Burnout is a word that was bandied about quite a lot at the start of the century but as soon as the IPL took off nobody, especially the so-called protector of cricketers rights FICA (Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations) has uttered the word again. That the national championship doesn’t mean much has been clear for a few years now that the IPL is here and it’s been emphasized once again by the way the Ranji Trophy has been devalued with the best talent out of the country,” Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-day.
“One can understand the national team being out as it’s a bilateral commitment in line with the ICC FTP but to have the India A team also out touring at the same time means that most Ranji Trophy teams are well below strength,” wrote Gavaskar.
Gavaskar pointed out that with the U-19 World Cup also going on in South Africa, the Ranji teams don’t get the service of their promising players also as they strive to make it to the knockouts as well.
“There is the ICC under-19 World Cup going on too, so a host of promising youngsters who bring in excitement and fresh energy and outlook are not playing the national championship at a time when their state teams need them to qualify for the knockouts. The argument that having an ‘A’ team touring the country where the national team is playing makes it easy for any replacements who will be ready and acclimatised if needed by injury to the senior team, is a specious argument,” further added Gavaskar.
“Look at the programme of the ‘A’ teams of other countries and you will find that they tour overseas only when their domestic season is not on. How come there is no ‘A’ tour or under-19 tour during the two months of the IPL? I may be old fashioned in thinking Indian cricket is a sum of club, schools, college junior cricket, corporate cricket along with first-class cricket of course. There are also the fans, the media, the corporate sponsors who have made Indian cricket what it is. It is the solemn duty of the administrators to nurture all this for the Indian national team to continue to be the magnificent team it is today and always,” Sunil Gavaskar concluded.