Welcoming Sourav Ganguly’s appointment as the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India, former captain Sunil Gavaskar said it was imperative for his team to focus on first-class cricket.

Gavaskar said that making the first-class game stronger is essential for raising the standard of the game in the country and cited the examples of West Indies and South Africa struggling now because of that.

The former India opener, not for the first time, also said it was important for the international stars to find time to play in domestic tournaments instead of context-less bilateral series. Ganguly himself had stated since taking over as the BCCI chief that improving first-class cricket will be his main area of concern during his short tenure.

“Playing meaningless international cricket makes little sense apart from inflating the statistics of individual players and filling the coffers of the board, which surely is not short of a rupee or two,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Sportstar.

“Look at the current international season. No less than four overseas teams are coming to play in India and the nation is also making a trip to New Zealand. That’s just too much meaningless cricket. What sense does a three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka make or even the T20 and One-Day series against the West Indies which India won so easily, recently.”

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“Australia and South Africa coming for three One-Dayers each also makes little sense. Where is the context to these matches? These periods could have been used for some players to rest but the majority of international players could have played domestic cricket, which would raise the standard of the game in the country. The BCCI has enough money to last for a generation or more, but if the standard of domestic cricket falls, then that could also dry up the flow of funds,” the legendary batsman added.

The 70-year-old also called for a salary cap in the ISL for uncapped players. The 2019 edition saw Tamil Nadu’s Varun Chakravarthy go for a whopping Rs 8.4 crore in the auction when Kings XI Punjab bought the spinner for his mystery skills, but injury cut short his season.

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“The gap of fees between the IPL and first-class cricket is humongous and creates unhealthy doubt in the minds of the first-class players if they should be playing the game at all. This can be easily solved by having a salary cap for the uncapped players, which is about double of what the first-class players get for playing a full season,” Gavaskar added.

Read Gavaskar’s entire column here.