With the prestigious World Test Championship final close on the heels of the near-two month long Indian Premier League in a crucial 50-over World Cup year, India captain Rohit Sharma highlights the need for players to take care of their bodies
Skipper Rohit Sharma with India teammates during the third ODI against Australia at Chennai on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
The India blues will be put in the cold storage for at least the next three months, with Season 16 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) set to grab centre stage over the next two. In the year of the 50-over World Cup, India’s next outings in that format aren’t until July in the Caribbean. The immediate interest will revolve around how the players go for their respective franchises in the IPL.
Club versus country debate
Club versus country has been a raging footballing debate for a long while. Franchise versus country is a more recent cricketing discussion hotbed, though only the truly naïve will believe that an Indian franchise must work with only the Indian national team’s interests in mind, no matter that they have invested so much in the quest for ultimate glory.
Rohit Sharma certainly doesn’t expect all concerned to buy into ‘workload management’ in its entirety. Channels of communication will be open between the BCCI/NCA and the franchises with regard to the ‘targeted Indian players’ participating in the IPL, one of the recommendations after the BCCI’s review meeting on January 1. But beyond the odd informal request, there is little Indian cricketing officialdom can do here.
The final of the IPL, which begins on March 31, is on May 28, just over a week before India and Australia meet for the World Test Championship title at The Oval from June 7.
Rohit acknowledged in the immediacy of the 21-run defeat in the final ODI in Chennai on Wednesday that the Indian team management had issued ‘borderline indications’ to franchises with regard to workload management, but stopped short of saying that it may not necessarily work.
Instead, Rohit put the onus on the players in the mix for the World Cup to look after themselves.
Also read: India vs Australia ODI: Rohit Sharma backs Suryakumar Yadav amid slump in form
“It’s all up to the franchises now,” the Indian captain, also the skipper of Mumbai Indians, said. “The franchises own them now. We’ve given some indications, some kind of borderline kind of thing to the teams. But at the end of the day, it’s up to the franchise and, most importantly, it’s the players—they have to take care of their own body.
“They are all adults. If they feel that it’s getting a little too much, they can always talk about it and have a break in one or two games. I doubt that will happen but.”
Injuries, an integral part of sport
Injuries are an integral part of competitive sport, and it’s impossible for a player to play within oneself when the stakes are high and the adrenaline rush of competition takes over. To put things in perspective, freak foot injuries that had nothing to do with cricket prevented Glenn Maxwell and Jonny Bairstow from playing in the T20 World Cup last October, so what’s the guarantee of anything?
Minimum number of matches for every team in IPL-16