Sunil Gavaskar did not hold back his words in his latest column, going in hard at the Australian and England cricketing community for making negative statements on the IPL. He went on to recount their treatment of India in the past and highlighted how the tables have turned in his country's favour.
Sunil Gavaskar has always been known as a straightforward character in the cricketing fraternity who is not afraid to speak his mind. Perhaps the finest ambassador of Indian cricket through history, the legendary batsman has hit back at people trying to taint the Indian Premier League in lieu of the soon-expected Future Tours Programme for 2023-27.
The document is reported to have allotted India a two-month annual window for organizing the franchise tournament, leading several in the Australian and England cricketing communities to express dismay. However, the 73-year-od pointed out the hypocrisy by highlighting the windows the two nations already have for their respective domestic tournaments.
"...By all means, look after your cricket interests but hey please don’t interfere in ours and tell us what to do. We will look after our interests and do it better than what you tell us to do," he wrote in his column for Sportstar.
"It’s been amusing to read that the Indian Premier League is once again seen as a disruptor of the cricketing calendar of other international teams. The moment the news about the South African T20 league and the UAE T20 league came out, the ‘old powers’ started squirming and got their apologists to have a go at the IPL."
"The England & Wales Cricket Board has created a window for its showpiece event The Hundred when the England team don’t play any international matches. The Australians, too, have scheduled their Big Bash when their contracted players will be available to play. But it’s worrying them that the UAE and the South African T20 leagues are scheduled around the same time and there’s the danger of some of their players opting to play there instead of the Big Bash," Gavaskar added.
In recent years, the trio of India, Australia and England have emerged as the 'Big 3' in cricket, wielding financial and political influence over cricket's governing body. Albeit that was not always the case throughout history, as Gavaskar explained, with India only beginning to gain its deserved attention in the late 20th century when there was a shift in the way cricket was administered.
"Remember the times when India as a team was not attractive as far as gate money was concerned? The Indian teams would have a gap of years between tours to the ‘old powers’ shores. The first Indian team toured Australia in 1947/8. Guess when was the next time the Indian team went there? It was 1967/8. Yes, sir, a good 20 years between the two tours. The next was in 1977/8. England, too, had the Indian team coming down after long gaps – 1936, then 1946. The World War II from 1939 to 1945 could have played a part in this. Indian visited England again in 1952, 1959, and then 1967.
"It was only after the other cricketing boards finally realised that being invited to the MCC President’s box was not helping them promote their cricket and new administrators, who didn’t have any inferiority complexes, came in that India started getting tours at regular four-year intervals. Now these same old powers want India to come to their shores every year because they have understood that the Indian team brings in more moolah than even when they play against each other," the veteran of the game highlighted.
The IPL remains cricket's most money-rich franchise tournament and it remains to be soon how the proposed calendar for the coming four years helps it grow eve further.