Blaming IPL for T20 WC debacle is a poor excuse
Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels blaming the Indian Premier League or its post-match parties for India`s humiliating exit from the Twenty20 World Cup is a "poor excuse" to justify the dismal campaign.
Gavaskar rejected skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s comments that IPL`s after-match parties and all the travelling during the inter-city league left the players drained ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.
"I don`t think that is an excuse at all. I think that is a very poor excuse used by people to say that IPL parties were the reason for the team not performing. Tell me one thing, there were no parties in the West Indies were they? So how can you say that the team performed badly in the Caribbean because of parties in India," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar also refused to buy the argument that the six-week-long IPL, which ended just five days before the World Cup, burnt out players and said on the contrary, it gave them the much-needed match practice before the big event.
"If that was the case then Sri Lanka would not have been in the semifinal, the England team would not have been in the final. The Australian team also. A lot of Australian players were in the IPL so I don`t think that is an issue at all," he said.
"It`s just the fact that Twenty20 is a format where you have got to be good on the day and if you are not good on your day, you lose. I don`t think much should be read into the fact that the players were playing IPL, if anything playing in the IPL meant that they had a lot more practice than the other teams," he argued.
The legendary batsman, however, backed the under-fire Dhoni, saying he remains the best man to lead the Indian team.
"I don`t think anybody should be complacent enough to think his place in the team is secure as a player or as a skipper. But having said that, M S Dhoni has done the best he could. I still think he is the best bet as far as captaining the country is concerned. He has not quite had the luck he had when he started with India`s captaincy," Gavaskar said.
He said the Indian batsmen, who were all at sea against the short-pitch stuffs on the hard and bouncy Caribbean tracks, need to go back to the National Cricket Academy to sort out their susceptibility to the rising deliveries.
"The guys who have been found to be uncomfortable against the short ball should be sent to the NCA where they will be able to practice against the short ball may be through a bowling machine or may be with some younger bowlers bowling to them from say 16 to 18 yards," he told a news channel.
"They are under a contract with the BCCI so nobody can actually claim that they need a break, they don`t need a break if they haven`t performed, they need to go back to the NCA and hone their skills against the short ball," Gavaskar suggested.
Asked whether the Indian players lacked commitment, Gavaskar said it is mainly an issue of how high the players have set their individual goals.
"I think every person has his ambitions. Some people have their ambitions scaled down, some have them sky-high and those with sky-high ambitions, those who want to be remembered as players, they will always try to improve.
"It`s not a recent phenomena, it`s been there since India took to international cricket in 1932. You will always find in a party of 16, 8-10 people who are really keen to perform on the tour, another four keen to perform but 3-4 of them or half a dozen of them (who) find the beginning of the tour not going their way tend to lose interest," he explained.
"The remaining are always there to make up the numbers and to have the perks of being part of the Indian team. It has been held true right since 1932," he said.
On coach Gary Kirsten`s reported criticism of some players` fitness levels, Gavaskar said he would not react on what is essentially speculation at this stage.
"I would rather wait to see if it is an official comment and not speculation. I would think that Gary Kirsten is intelligent enough not to make a public statement of it but he would probably send an e-mail to the BCCI giving his thoughts on this particular tournament," he said.