Gavaskar, Imran blame it on IPL

Calcutta/New Delhi: Two legends of world cricket, Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan have held the IPL responsible for the Indian team's recent downfall, with the former going on to say that for some Indian players national duty comes second to the cash-rich Twenty20 league.

Without naming anyone, Gavaskar questioned some Indian players' attitude.

"If you look at the events that took place immediately after the 2011 World Cup, you will know the guys who actually took their places for granted, those who did not make themselves available and preferred to play in the IPL and then go for surgeries," Gavaskar said.

"I think those are the guys who instead of looking at India were looking at contributing for their IPL franchises. If at all you need to take a rest, you need to take a rest from club matches," he told NDTV, on India's ODI series loss to Pakistan.

Gavaskar also blamed the team's batting for the shoddy performance. Pakistan took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series at Eden Gardens on Thursday evening.

"It's the batsmen, they are the ones who are known much more than bowlers (in India). They are the ones who are responsible. Indian batsmen are terribly out of form since 2011 World Cup. They have struck form sporadically," he said.

Gavaskar's views were supported by Imran, who too feels that the IPL has a big role to play in the Indian team's decline in the past one year.

"Unless Indian cricket deals with the IPL, unless you work out a balance between Test cricket and Twenty20 cricket and the commercial aspect of IPL, Indian cricket will go down rapidly," the former Pakistan captain warned.

Meanwhile Pakistan's dominance in the ongoing ODI series against India has surprised former captain Zaheer Abbas.

"I did not expect such wins. It was a battle of nerves and Pakistan did better to win it. On the contrary, the Indian players were tired. They have played too much cricket recently and have not performed to potential," Zaheer said.

"Pakistan have done exceptionally well. Nasir (Jamshed) and (Mohammed) Hafeez were particularly brilliant with the bat while bowlers like Umar (Gul), Junaid (Khan) and (Saeed) Ajmal did not let the famed Indian batting line-up open their hands," he said.

He said it was a daunting task to suffocate the Indian batsmen but Pakistani bowlers succeeded.

"Pakistani bowlers maintained an accurate line and length and none of the Indian top order batsmen could fire," Abbas said.

He also felt that India are under additional pressure due to playing at home.

"Naturally there is additional pressure to perform in front of their home crowd and it tends to increase when India and Pakistan play each other. India were under pressure but we must give credit to the Pakistani team which has performed really well," he said.

Predicting a 3�0 win for Pakistan, Zaheer said: "I think this team can do this. Pakistan can clean sweep the Indians in Delhi and if it happens, it will be a blessing for Pakistan cricket.

"We are deprived of international cricket at home and in such circumstances a win against a top team like India will boost Pakistan cricket," he said.

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