Botham: IPL is bad for cricket in the long term

England

Former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham gave the annual Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord's this week, and used it as an opportunity to criticise the Indian Premier League's influence on the game.

Former England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham gave the annual Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord's this week, and used it as an opportunity to criticise the Indian Premier League's influence on the game.

Botham's opinion was the opposite of former England batsman Kevin Pietersen's, who this week said more England players should be part of the IPL, to improve their limited-overs games.

'Beefy' felt that players put far too much emphasis on IPl contracts, given the massive amounts of money they earn from it, and that the Indian board benefitted disproportionately from all the star players.

Botham opined: "I'm worried about the IPL. In fact, I feel it shouldn't be there at all as it is changing the priorities of world cricket. Players are slaves to it. Administrators bow to it.

"How on Earth did the IPL own the best players in the world for two months a year and not pay a penny to the boards who brought these players into the game?

"I know this has been modified to a degree, but it is still an imbalance. The IPL is too powerful for the long-term good of the game."

He continued: "Corruption is enough of a problem in itself, but the IPL compounds that problem given it provides the perfect opportunity for betting and therefore fixing.

"We have seen a few players exposed, but does throwing the odd second XI player into jail solve it?

"To kill the serpent, you must cut off its head. The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit must pursue the root of the problem and if necessary expose the big names."

Botham also addressed England's recent poor form, especially in one-dayers, and said that ECB Central Contracts were partly to blame, as they encouraged a lazy attitude and robbed players of the desire to impress.

He said: "Central contracts are brilliant, but it has now become so essential to the England player that the sharpness goes.

"A long contract is a cosy contract. To play international sport, above all else, above even freshness and rest, you must have desire. It is not enough to want success.

"You must need success. If you want it, that's fine, but you must need it as a player. Hunger is still the most important attribute for any sportsman."

Latest