Refusing to blame the cash-rich Indian Premier League for the national squad's debacle in Australia, former Test skipper Dilip Vengsarkar today said lack of proper planning by the BCCI is the prime reason for the dismal show.
Two other former cricketers, Chandu Borde and Bapu Nadkarni, also refused to blame the IPL for India's dismal show in the four-Test rubber in which Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men have lost the first three games, two of them by an innings, and are in danger of suffering a second successive whitewash overseas.
"IPL is not the only thing that is affecting the performance. The (tour itinerary) is faulty. There were not sufficient games before the start of the series or in between the Tests. The reserves in the team, like Rohit Sharma and wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha (who are expected to play in the last match at Adelaide) have not played for more than a month," former national chief selector Vengsarkar told PTI.
"There is no point playing all four Tests at a stretch. There is not sufficient practice for the players. Everyone in the team should have the chance to play (before the series commences and also in between). It is important to involve people who know the game and have played it at the highest level and not those who have not held a bat in their lives," he remarked.
"Junior cricket, domestic first class cricket and A team tours also need to be properly planned," added the 55-year-old former player who represented India in 116 Tests and 129 ODIs between 1976 and 1992 and is a former vice president of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
About IPL, Vengsarkar said it was the event that brought money to the BCCI as was the case with the one-dayers all around the world when they began in the early 1970s.
But Vengsarkar felt the IPL should not be overdone and ideally be over in a month's time. Besides he wanted under-19 cricketers to be totally kept out of the league.
Borde blamed the Indian batsmen's inability to learn from mistakes they committed during the tour of England for the batting debacle.
"The IPL is not to be blamed. The players have not learned from the mistakes that they committed in the UK. They keep getting out in the same fashion. Only Sachin Tendulkar has not committed the same mistakes," said the 77-year-old Pune-based former middle order batsman who had played in 55 Tests between 1958 and 1969.
"They are great players who have done well over the years. How they keep making the same mistakes baffles me. For example Vijay Hazare (former captain) tried his level best not to make the same mistake the second time," he commented.
Asked whether it was time to bring an end to the glorious careers of Dravid and VVS Laxman, who have failed miserably in Australia, Borde said they are still contributing with the bat but the important thing is whether they are carrying their weight in fielding too.
"When you grow older the reflexes do slow down. In England it was the movement but here (in Australia) there has been bounce too. They have been a bit slow in their reflexes (while batting) but not that slow either. But what about fielding? If they make a 50 and give away 10-20 runs on the field, the sum total of their contribution gets reduced, does not ?"
He, however, refused to blame the lack of practice games as the reason for the dismal display.
"The main players went 10 days in advance, did they not? Also three Tests are over and they should have got adjusted to the conditions by now," Borde remarked.
The 78-year-old Nadkarni, who represented the country in 41 Tests between 1955 and 1968, was puzzled over the inability of the experienced players in the team to adapt to the different conditions.
"If IPL is to be blamed, then it should have affected other cricketers too? The inability to adapt is the main reason. They are Test cricketers. They should be able to adapt. But if they feel IPL is affecting their game then let them decide not to play in it. You can't have it both ways," the former all-rounder added.