Lashing out at Indian Premier League for using "cricket as an instrument of business", Sports Minister M S Gill has accused the BCCI of changing the rules of the game to allow the cash-awash Twenty20 league run a commercial venture.
Gill said the rules of cricket had been changed by the IPL, and acquiesced by the BCCI, by way of giving batsman advantage over bowlers to promote entertainment, allowing mongoose bat and shortening boundaries, all to earn profit.
"What the IPL is 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 told a news channel.
"Its focus is earning money. Now two new teams have been bought and one of the gentlemen who has bought ... said look this is business, we bought it for business and our job is to earn from it. Cricket is an instrument of business," he added.
The minister dared to touch upon the controversial issue of some IPL stakeholders holding powerful posts in the BCCI and said those involved in the Twenty20 league should not be part of the Board 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 not only detrimental to the health of other longer formats of the game but it has also damaged the sportsmanship of the cricketers and their urge to play for the country.
"... 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 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. PTI