Former skipper Mohd Azharuddin feels selection blunders, not IPL or its post-match parties, led to India's [ Images ] humiliating early exit from the Twenty20 [ Images ] World Cup in the West Indies [ Images ] earlier this month.
"I think we did not pick the right side. I thought two or three players should have been selected like Robin Uthappa [ Images ] and Pragyan Ojha [ Images ] and others who had really done well. But they were not selected," the cricketer-turned-politician told reporters here.
"I think team selection was not up to the mark and I do not think we looked like a team playing together. Apart from some good individual performances from Suresh Raina [ Images ] and Rohit Sharma [ Images ], there was nothing much to talk about," Azharuddin said.
Azharuddin said players should have been picked on the basis of current form instead of past reputations. "We cannot afford to play on reputation because cricket has totally changed. It is not what it was some 20 years back. When even if you did not score in six or seven matches, you were still there because you are a good player," he said.
"I think once you have become a professional, you are expected to perform day in and day out," he explained.
Azharuddin said blaming IPL fatigue for the shambolic campaign, during which India did not win a single match in the Super Eight stage, was unfair. "I still feel that there were players who were not fit," he said.
"I think this should not have happened because the players knew that there is lot of cricket to be played and also knew the schedule. It's the players' responsibility to stay fit and look after themselves and make sure that they are fit when they play for the country.
"If the players felt that they needed to go, only then they should have gone. At the same time you cannot blame parties because when you are playing professional cricket you are expected to be on the field," he added.
The former captain felt the BCCI should not have stopped cricketers from playing in county cricket.
"I feel they should have been given a chance since they have not been playing for some time," he said.
"At least they would have become match fit. I do not know why they have been denied permission. It would have made a difference had they been given permission," he said.