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Gavaskar warns players against the lure of IPL cash

cricket Updated: Jul 03, 2009 12:57 IST

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Young players should not be distracted by the vast amounts of cash on offer from the Indian Premier League (IPL) and instead focus on earning national selection, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has warned.

"For those playing at the college level or club level, the India cap still should be the be-all and end-all, not the IPL," he said, joining a debate over the impact of the multi-million dollar franchise league on players.

"Players today, even those not on the national team, are able to make a living," he added in delivering the inaugural Dilip Sardesai lecture in memory of his former India batting partner.

"IPL has changed that, and that's great.

"But the worry is that IPL may be considered the be-all and end-all by these young players."

India coach Gary Kirsten said the IPL left his players tired and carrying injuries after the holders were knocked out early from last month's Twenty20 World Cup in England.

Twenty20 competitions have proved a massive commercial success, with lucrative IPL contracts a major incentive for players, but it has raised concerns it could undermine the traditional form of the game.

Gavaskar said some Indian players even skipped domestic games to stay injury-free for the IPL.

The non-stop playing commitments of India players also left them with little time to recover or mentor youngsters, he said.

"In our time we had seniors who guided us with a hand on the shoulder or a slap on the wrist, to tell us our priority is cricket," said Gavaskar.

He also warned that the game risked losing fans and respect due to poor player behaviour.

"I don't understand why youngsters these days, when they score a century or take a wicket, mouth off and shout obscenities," he said.

"You may think mouthing off is being macho, but that's not what this sport is about."