Australian spin wizard Shane Warne wants exciting young Indian cricketers playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to set their sights at earning the India cap instead of being satisfied with playing for their franchisees and making a little money.
Warne, who is here to lead Rajasthan Royals in Wednesday's match against Delhi Daredevils, said he was concerned about the impact of the IPL on the youngsters, saying their ultimate goal should be to play for their country.
"There are lot of concerns...To me the No.1 priority is to play for the country and that too in Tests. I think it should be the same for young players as well. I don't want youngsters to come up and say that they want to play only in the IPL. I am a big believer in International Cricket Council (ICC) and its Future Tour's Programme (FTP)," said Warne here Tuesday.
Asked if the IPL should go the English Premier League (EPL) football way spreading over a longer period, Warne said: "There is no doubt that IPL is the best format to sell cricket to the world. But I feel it should be played for only six weeks. IPL has to make sure that it doesn't get too long. Both ICC and IPL have to come together and find a window to make sure that best international cricketers are available during that stretch."
Warne disagreed with Union Sports Minister M. S. Gill that the Indian board is changing the rules of the game to suit the IPL and that it is only a money-spinner.
On the IPL positives, the 40-year-old Australian said: "I accept that IPL franchise owners are here to do business. But to be fair, IPL is not all about money. Today you have players like Naman Ojha, Siddharth Trivedi, Ravindra Jadeja, who can easily walk into the national team. None knew about Jadeja before the IPL. He was just a bowler, who could bat well at the No.9 position. But look at him today, he comes up the batting order in the national team and is part of the World Cup squad.
"Look at Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Yousuf Pathan, they all have evolved as match-winners for India thanks to the IPL and by rubbing shoulders with top international cricketers and coaches."
Warne also said that youngsters are largely responsible for the four-match unbeaten run of the Royals.
"The fact that we have shown faith in the young Indian players has worked for us. We started poorly losing three matches and then we had a great turnaround winning four matches on the trot. It was a great achievement by the youngsters. I spoke to all the boys and also had one-on-one sessions with them. And they have responded well," said Warne, who had 708 Test wickets and 293 scalps from ODIs.
On the IPL making the game too much batsman-friendly, Warne said: "The IPL is a fast moving juggernaut and the game is changing accordingly. Bowlers have to accept it and move on."