London: In a stinging attack on Lalit Modi, former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has blamed the Indian Premier League commissioner for the national team's disastrous show in this year's Twenty20 World Championships.
"India lost the Twenty20 World Cup thanks to Lalit Modi. No one else. Lalit Modi and his IPL. When I was playing, there were players who always wanted to achieve something for their country - we used to play for our clubs for no money," Ranatunga said in a speech to the Oxford Union to be carried in the January issue of 'The Wisden Cricketer' magazine.
"It was an honour to play for our country. Not like nowadays," he added.
India, who went into the event as defending champions, couldn't go past even the first stage when the tourney was staged in England earlier this year. The players went into the World Cup within days of competing at the IPL and India coach Gary Kirsten had blamed the team's poor show on fatigue.
Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup triumph, felt "a lot of unwanted people" have started getting involved with the game, especially in Twenty20 events.
"They will come in with Twenty20, they will burn money with Twenty20, then they will vanish," he said.
Ranatunga, a known critic of the shortest format of the game, said Twenty20 will kill cricket given the money involved. He also rubbished suggestions that events like the IPL would benefit young players.
"Only limited top players benefit and that is just financially. You need a balance between bat and ball for good cricket; Twenty20 will kill that for financial considerations," he said.
Ranatunga said despite the horrific terror attack on Lankan cricketers last year in Lahore, the national team should return to play in Pakistan when the security situation improves.
"Provided we had proper security, as we had when we played the Asia Cup there, I would lead a team to Pakistan. Sri Lanka had these problems for 30 years (in the Sri Lankan civil war)," he said.
"If you are going to stop playing because of terrorism, you are going to end up with a shamed country," he added.