'Controversies are a wake-up call for team owners'
Ian Chappell rated this Bangalorean as the finest spinner ever. The former Australian captain introduced him as a “great spinner” while talking to another wizard — Shane Warne.
At 72, E.A.S. Prasanna still remains alert to cricket's rapid evolution. The off-spin legend, who took 189 Test wickets and has a combined first-class tally of 957 scalps, spoke about the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its varied influences on cricket.
Q. Do you think the recent off-field controversies have dented the IPL brand?
A. I don't think so. I believe that the IPL is a strong brand, and if there are off-field issues, you cannot blame the Board of Control for Cricket in India. It's all about individual players and team managements. The recent controversies are, perhaps, a wake-up call for the owners.
Has the IPL's big bucks affected players?
There is big money in IPL, but look at the larger picture – how many domestic cricketers can play for India? Now, with the IPL, many players are getting instant recognition. In distant towns, where cricket would have just been a recreational sport, parents now feel that the game can provide stability to their children, as IPL teams need more local players.
The Twenty20 format's impact on a player's technique has triggered many debates.
It all depends on the mindset of a player. No bowler can think “Oh, I am bowling to Chris Gayle and it will be difficult.”
A spinner has to bowl according to the match situation and not get bogged down by the batsman, be it a Gayle or a Sachin Tendulkar. Now, people are talking about the off-spinner Sunil Narine, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Let him play in Tests and then I will pass my judgement.
Do you mean to say “never judge a player on the basis of his IPL exploits”?
My reply would be both “yes” and “no”. You, obviously, cannot judge a bowler because he gets only four overs. You need to observe a bowler for a longer duration. But as far as a batsman is concerned, you can at one level judge him because if he can bat through 20 overs and score an 85, then he can do the same in a Test match.
What is the way forward for the IPL?
Maybe after a few years you could have a rule — eight to bat and 11 to field. These restrictions will test the captain as he has to use bowling options from within this eight-member team while he can have three additional fielders. It will also add an element of uncertainty and make the match more interesting.