Former Pakistan captain and bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, Wasim Akram today slammed those criticising the Indian Premier League, saying that they were "jealous" of the cash-rich Twenty20 event's success and should be "ignored".
"It is sad to see people protesting against IPL. These are jealous people and should be ignored. Let's focus on the business end of the championship," Akram said.
The veteran of 104 Tests insisted that the Twenty20 tournament was a "great advertisement for pure entertainment".
Akram said that success makes many enemies and IPL was one glaring example of that. "Only successful people have critics. In our culture, there is a tendency to run down a prosperous venture. Make no mistake, IPL is all about success. Every year it is making a positive statement and attracting the best in the world. We have had packed stadiums in almost every game. That's just great," the cricketer wrote in his column for 'espnstar.com'.
The fifth edition of IPL has been marred with controversies with a television channel alleging that fixing of matches was rampant in the tournament.
KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan was involved in a brawl with the Mumbai Cricket Association officials at the Wankhede stadium leading to his ban for five years from the venue. The chorus against IPL got louder when Royal Challengers Bangalore's Australian recruit Luke Pomersbach was charged of molesting an American national at the team hotel here. If all these were not enough, Pune Warrior's cricketers Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell were detained by the police after a raid at a rave party.
However, Akram insisted that the controversies surrounding the IPL have in no way "dampened the spirit of the game". "Any big event always brings along its share of concerns. Controversies may have surfaced but they haven't damped the spirit of cricket. Close matches have underlined the beauty of T20 cricket," he wrote.