Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes Indian Premier League (IPL) has played a huge role in reducing animosity among players who come from different countries and spend together a substantial amount of time while playing for a franchise in the cash-rich T20 tournament.
"There is this false belief that you have to be so tough that you must not appreciate the opponent when a batsman reaches a half-century or century, you see players of teams have their hands behind their backs and not even applaud. I am happy to say that the Indian team is not one of them. What does it take to applaud a fifty or a century? Does it make you that tougher?" said Gavaskar while speaking to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on latter's YouTube show 'DRS with Ash'.
"Achievement is an achievement, you should applaud it. The makeshift, the fraternisation that used to take place between teams has lessened. Having said that, the IPL has been a huge plus in lessening the animosity between players," he added.
Gavaskar said before the inception of IPL in 2008, there was an "incredible and ridiculous animosity" between players.
"I know people tend to romanticise the old days and stuff like that, but we had a situation where a batting team would always take a break at the end of the day to take drinks to the fielding team's dressing room. You used to be at each other throats while playing cricket, but in the evening, you would get to know players from the other team," he said.
During the conversation, the former India captain also expressed his opinion on spirit of cricket and its meaning.
"Spirit of cricket is where you play the game as hard as you can, but without looking to cheat and gain an advantage. It is a notion where you just want to enjoy the sport, you can play as hard as you can but fairness is not taking advantage of what you know can be wrong. If you know you have hit the ball, you can walk, if you know that is not out, you can look to not appeal," said the 71-year-old who represented India in 125 Tests and 108 ODIs.
"Sometimes you leave the things to the umpire, I mean what is this? It just slows down the game, it is referred to the TV umpire, you lose about a couple of minutes, the rhythm of play is gone, simple things like that will help the game become better," he added.