Indian legend Kapil Dev urged the country’s cricket players to prioritise playing for the national team over Indian Premier League, after the pre-tournament favourites were eliminated from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup ahead of semifinals.

“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,” Dev told ABP News.

“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 (at the T20 World Cup) as much as we hoped for.”

Kapil Dev insisted that there should be pride in playing for the country.

“When the players prefer to play IPL over playing for the country, what can we say? I believe that every player should feel proud playing for their country,” said the 1983 World Cup-winning all-rounder.

“I don’t know their financial conditions so I will not talk too much about that. But I believe that your national team should come first and after that franchise or any other team.”

India on Sunday crashed out of the Twenty20 World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan to book the second semi-final berth from Group 2.

Virat Kohli’s side, who went into the tournament as one of the favourites, thrashed Afghanistan and Scotland but it was too late after losing heavily to arch rival Pakistan and to New Zealand.

In the build-up, Indian team regrouped just two days after the Indian Premier League ended on October 15 in Dubai, adding to the time that the players spent in draining Covid-19 bubble conditions.

While the IPL witnessed players from all countries participating, only India had the entire squad playing regularly in the tournament.

“I am not saying don’t play cricket there (for franchises) but it is now BCCI’s responsibility to plan their cricket (schedule) better for the future,” the 62-year-old Dev said of the Indian cricket board.

“What we can learn from this defeat is to not repeat the mistakes that have been made. This is the biggest lesson.”

When asked what the biggest reason for the early exit despite the riches of the BCCI, in terms of talent as well as the resources, Dev said World Cups are not won by how wealthy the board is.

India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun also said recently that a short break would have helped.

“Definitely being on the road for six months is a huge ask. I think the players haven’t gone home ever since they had a short break after the last IPL and they are in a bubble for the last six months. And I think that takes a huge toll. So very specific to your question, maybe a short break between the IPL and the World Cup would have done a lot of good for these boys,” Arun had said on Sunday.

With PTI inputs