New Delhi,Mar 29 (IANS): Sports Minister M.S.Gill lashed out at the Indian cricket board for changing the rules of the game and allowing the Indian Premier League (IPL) to run a commercial venture.
Gill is unhappy that the rules of cricket have been changed by the IPL to give batsmen an advantage over bowlers to promote entertainment, mongoose bat and shortening boundaries - all to earn profit.
"What the is IPL doing, the bowler is only the victim and the bat -- now you have a mongoose bat (and) I look forward to a cobra bat. The boundaries have been shortened ... the whole thing is to entertain the masses. And the bowler is just an instrument for this promotion. IPL is fundamentally business." Gill was quoted as saying in Karan Thapar's 'Devil's Advocate' programme on CNN-IBN.
"It's focus is earning money. Now two new teams have been bought and one of the gentlemen who has bought the teams said, 'Look this is business, we bought it for business and our job is to earn from it.' Cricket is an instrument of business," Gill said.
The minister also was unhappy about the fact that some of the office-bearers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are stakeholders in IPL teams. He feels that BCCI officials should not be a part of IPL to avoid conflict of interest.
"Those who control the game, that is BCCI, they have a direct interest as owners of teams, as people who have a direct benefit from it and this is something very dangerous. What I have noticed, and I am sure everybody else has, (that) major office bearers are on both sides," Gill said.
"Those who are to make rules for everyone, for all aspects of the game and keeping in view the interest of the game and the country and the long term, have to be totally apart from being involved in IPL in any way," he said.
"Obviously, I think so," he added when asked whether there was any conflict of interest with BCCI members on both sides of the board and IPL.
Gill said the IPL was also harming other forms of cricket.
"The five-day Test is under challenge and you see nobody turns up for it, crowds have already been moved away. Even the 50-over format is reduced to T20 and I sometimes say jokingly that we'll go to T5 and then T1 and then half an over," he said.
Gill also feared that now youngsters won't be keen to play for the national team and would be interested to play for IPL teams.
"Even the seasons have been changed. Now this (IPL) has to be accommodated. And today I find that they are concerned will India have any role in the Twenty20 World Cup? People will not be that keen to play for the national team, as they will be for a commercial team. Certainly, Test cricket and India's position in it will be affected," Gill said.
"Sportsmanship in what way I can't say, but the fact of the matter is the attitude, the mental attitude of the players is obviously modified by the requirements and by the enticements of the game," he said.
Gill also said that the big investments in cricket is also affecting other sports.
"There is something happening which is adverse to the rest of them (other sports). Most of the newspapers or even the television channels, give three pages of the newspaper or most of the time to cricket, cricket, cricket. Hockey, football - they don't get a word. And whether you have a World Cup going on here of hockey or anything (there's no coverage)," he said.
He went on to add that cricketers get favourable treatment from even the committee which decides on Padma Awards by disregarding sports ministry's nomination.
"I am not happy at that (Sushil not getting Padma award) ... we recommended him. We have also a so-called technical expertise to make that judgement. But I am sorry to say that the committees that select in the other ministry take names direct and we are not even consulted nor are our views taken, which, I think, is wrong. They must take our view. They can't reject our view," he said.
Gill was unhappy with state governments jostling to announce financial rewards to cricketers and not for other sportspersons.
"I do feel sad about this and I do expect public authorities, elected authorities in states or anywhere, to be more responsive to a fair treatment of Indian sportsmen and Indian people," he said.