World Cup-winning former India captain Kapil Dev believes the country's cricketers "prioritise IPL" over national assignments and the onus is on the BCCI to make better schedules to avoid the "mistakes" committed during the ongoing T20 World Cup.
India failed to make it to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, paying heavily for the back-to-back early losses in the Super 12 stage. New Zealand clinched the last available semi-final spot on Sunday to knock Virat Kohli's men out of the tournament.
"When players prioritise IPL over playing for the country, what can we say? Players should take pride in playing for their nation. I don't know their financial condition so can't say much," the 62-year-old former captain told ABP News but did not dwell on the specific reason for his statement as the IPL has not clashed with any India matches.
The event did, however, end very close to the T20 World Cup this year because of the scheduling issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"...I feel that first in line should be the country's team and then franchises. I'm not saying do not play cricket there (IPL), but the responsibility is now on the BCCI to plan its cricket better.
"To not repeat mistakes we committed in this tournament is the biggest learning for us," he added.
India pacer Jasprit Bumrah and outgoing bowling coach Bharat Arun had highlighted the issue of mental fatigue for players who have been on the road for close to six months since the IPL began in April.
Both had said that a break was perhaps needed after the league's second leg that ended on October 15 in the UAE, little over a week before India's first World Cup match.
Arun also said that bubble fatigue contributed to the team's indifferent performance. India had lost their first two games to Pakistan and New Zealand.
Kapil also said there should have been a gap between the second leg of the IPL and the T20 World Cup.
"It's time to look at the future. You should start planning right away. It's not that since the World Cup is over, the Indian team's entire cricket is also over. Go and plan," said the 1983 ODI world Cup winning all-rounder.
"I just feel that there should have been some gap between IPL and the World Cup. But this is certainly there that our players today have a lot of exposure but they could not make the most of it."
It is the first time since 2012 that India made an early exit from an ICC event and Kapil said "everyone should take ownership of the loss."
"...They (top players) have done well in their careers but if you don't do well, you will face criticism... Ravi Shastri, Virat Kohli have good track records but if you don't win ICC events, it will hurt them more...," he said.
India will take on Namibia in their final Super 12 match on Monday evening.