Mumbai, Apr 15: At at time when the BCCI facing a daunting task of shifting Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 matches outside drought-hit Maharashtra following Bombay High Court's order, several cricketers beg to differ with the court's ruling.
After India's limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni, former India cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid are of the same view that shifting matches will not resolve the perennial crisis as it requires a "long-term" solution.
BCCI is finding it extremely hard searching for alternative venues after Bombay High Court ordered shifting IPL matches from Maharashtra after April 30. 13 IPL matches of Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants will be shifted outside their home turfs owing to court's order.
"It's a serious issue and the fact that so many people are dying because of shortage of water is serious but linking it to IPL will trivialise it," Rahul Dravid told NDTV.
"How can a drought be as important as cricket? If not having IPL will solve the problem, then we should stop playing cricket," he added.
Sunil Gavaskar too shared Dravid's sentiments, but wondered if the cricket tournament was used as a "soft target" in a larger political game.
"What do you think has been happening for the last 9-10 years? It's always something or the other cropping up before or during the IPL. Whether it's a soft target or not, yes it is a soft target," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by NDTV.
"Farmers' life has to be absolute priority. You cannot trivialise people who put bread on our table. That's an absolute priority," he said.
"Is water being saved by not having IPL matches? If yes, how can it be done? The BCCI did guarantee that they will not use potable water. Franchises and BCCI, I believe, also offered to make donation. Those two were significant and good gestures," he added.