New Delhi: After the Bombay High Court's order to move Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of drought-hit Maharashtra, former India captain Rahul Dravid reacted by saying that cricket should not be mixed with such a serious issue.
"It's a serious issue and the fact that so many people are dying because of shortage of water is serious but linking it to IPL will trivialise it," Dravid told NDTV.
"How can a drought be as important as cricket? If not having IPL will solve the problem, then we should stop playing cricket," he added.
The High Court on Wednesday ordered that all IPL matches after April 30 should be shifted out of the parched state, to minimise the impact of water shortage, which has already became a national tragedy.
Dravid is the mentor of Delhi Daredevils.
Another former captain, Sunil Gavaskar shared Dravid's sentiments, but wondered if the world's premier cricket league was used as a "soft target" in a larger political game.
"What do you think has been happening for the last 9-10 years? It's always something or the other cropping up before or during the IPL. Whether it's a soft target or not, yes it is a soft target," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by NDTV.
"Farmers' life has to be absolute priority. You cannot trivialise people who put bread on our table. That's an absolute priority," he said.
"Is water being saved by not having IPL matches? If yes, how can it be done? The BCCI did guarantee that they will not use potable water. Franchises and BCCI, I believe, also offered to make donation. Those two were significant and good gestures," he added.
(With PTI inputs)