SPO_200914_IPL Interview Dilip Vengsarkar LEAD2-1600096970259
Dilip Vengsarkar during the course of the interview with Gulf News. Picture: K.R. Nayar Image Credit:

Legendary Indian batsman and captain Dilip Vengsarkar would like the Indian Premier League (IPL) that is set to commence from September 19 in the UAE to back spinners by increasing the distance to the boundary. He also feels that it’s time Indian coaches should be coaching the IPL teams instead of foreign coaches.

Speaking to Gulf News from Mumbai, Vengsarkar, said: “It is important to allow spinners to play a role in this league. So, instead of a 60-yard boundary, one should have a 70-yard boundary so that a mishit can have a batsman get caught in the deep. We’ve seen a top edge go for a six even in a 65-yard boundary. Spinners become useless under these circumstances and it is important to be fair for spinners to also deliver. In fact, I would even suggest extending the boundary to 75 yards, if possible.”

Vengsarkar’s observation is based on the fact that only twice in the history of IPL have spinners been able to bag the purple cap for the leading wicket-takers. It has been fast bowlers on all the other 10 occasions who have finished on top. Deccan Chargers’ left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in 2010 and Chennai Super Kings’ leg spinner Imran Tahir in 2019 have managed to bag the purple cap.

Call for Indian coaches

Vengsarkar, who has groomed many talented youngsters through his two academies in Mumbai and one in Pune, feels that IPL teams should be coached by Indian coaches. “I believe more Indian coaches should coach the IPL teams simply because they have the experience; they have also been coaching the states exceedingly well. Besides, how many Indian coaches are coaching teams in other countries’ league like Australia’s Big Bash, etc.? We find none. So why should we hire foreign coaches? I feel our coaches are equally good and some of them are even better. It’s time we give more opportunity to Indian coaches, I am sure they will do exceedingly well. Hopefully, IPL teams will have more Indian coaches than foreign coaches.”

Known for his strong views just like his upright stance as a batsman who scored 6,868 Test runs and 3508 runs in One Day Internationals, Vengsarkar believes merit and not age to be considered as the selection criteria into the IPL teams. “Any team’s coach, captain, and any think tank would like to have the best combination for the match and they should be picked on merit and not because a player is under-23 or under-19. From my Pune Chinchwad academy an opening batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad is in the Chennai Super Kings team and another boy is an under-19 player Yashasvi Jaiswal who did extremely well in the Under-19 World Cup and plays for Rajasthan Royals. Both of them are extremely promising cricketers, and if they are given opportunities I am sure they will grab it since they have immense potential.”

Vengsarkar wants players to use the IPL as a learning curve. “When you play alongside the best players of the world, you need to raise your bar. So you automatically improve yourself watching them, especially their work ethics, how they prepare for the game, their fitness levels, and fitness regime. You are able to witness these from close quarters. For me, Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world today along with Rohit Sharma. They have been outstanding cricketers and they have done so well in all formats of the game. I am a huge fan of both Virat and Rohit. People will enjoy their batting and their captaincy as both are captaining their respective teams.”

SPO_200914_IPL Interview Dilip Vengsarkar SECONDARY 2-1600096967567
Indian Cricketer, Dilip Vengsarkar (Original published date not available) 01/01/1978

Vengsarkar is of the view that IPL is very important not only for Indian cricket but for world cricket too. “The cream of players from all over the world play in the IPL and they give their best, hence the quality of cricket is the best in this T20 format. For the last six months or so the coronavirus pandemic has given a terrible time for people forcing them to stay at home due to the lockdown. IPL is important for the players, BCCI, and all state associations who are accredited to the BCCI. Due to the IPL, BCCI is able to give grants to state associations and put the money back into cricket for buying grounds and building stadiums so that players from small states can stay back and use the facilities and become better players. Thanks to BCCI’s grants to all the affiliated units, now a lot of talent is emerging from the smaller states.”

Hailing the UAE as a great venue to host the IPL, Vengsarkar said: “The UAE is ideal to host the event because the pandemic has been controlled well there, and besides that they have excellent grounds in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and in Sharjah. I have played in Sharjah many years ago and had a fantastic time playing there. Hopefully the weather too will cool down by October. It is unfortunate that spectators may not be allowed to go and enjoy the atmosphere. As for fans in India, the start timings of the matches will suit those coming back from work around 7.30pm. That is prime time for television viewership in India, and it will also be good for Australia and England and wherever the IPL is telecast live.”

“When you play alongside the world’s best players you need to raise your bar. So you automatically improve yourselves watching them...”