New Delhi: Former captain Kapil Dev has called on the Indian cricket board to help bring an end to the club vs. country debate by paying players more for representing India.
Former players including Shane Warne and Michael Holding have accused Indian cricketers of risking injuries by playing in the Indian Premier League and the ongoing Champions League, and missing international cricket as a result.
"Both forms of the game are run by the same organization (the Board of Control for Cricket in India), yet a player gets more money for representing a club than while playing for the nation," Kapil was quoted as saying in The Times of India on Friday.
"Let them pay more to those who play for India, then we'll see how many of our players skip series," Kapil said during a lecture in Mumbai.
Several top cricketers earn in excess of $1 million from their clubs in each six-week season of the Indian Premier League, which is organized by the BCCI.
In contrast, the BCCI offers annual contracts of a maximum of $200,000 with additional match fees of $14,000 (tests), $8,000 (one-dayers) and $4,000 (Twenty20 internationals).
Nine players, including star batsman Sachin Tendulkar and premier fast bowler Zaheer Khan, suffered injuries on a recent tour of England when the team was blanked 4-0 in Tests and also failed to win any limited overs game.
The testing tour of England was part of a busy season. India's players took part in the IPL immediately after winning the World Cup on home soil in April and then toured the West Indies before going to England.
"The Indian team couldn't even get time to unwind and enjoy their World Cup triumph. They got just four days before the IPL began. When you don't get enough time to unwind you lose the passion to play. That's what happened in England," said Kapil, who led India to World Cup victory in 1983.
Meanwhile, spin great Bishan Singh Bedi blamed the limited overs formats for the lack of quality spinners in the country.
"The fault lies with us. If you want to see more Twenty20 or one-day cricket, this is what you will get," the left-arm spinner said at a book release function in New Delhi.
"By bowling only four or 10 overs one can't get control, if one is not bowling a lot you will only get mediocre bowlers and that is what we have at the moment," he added.