It’s no secret that players and national teams have contrasting ways of looking at the Indian Premier League (IPL). For those who earn more in a couple of months than they would in the rest of the year, this is the magic carpet to a better life. But the countries dependent on the services of these players are apprehensive. Because of an intense schedule packed with playing, practising, eating, sleeping and travelling during unusual hours, this league is also known as a breeding ground of injuries.
Despite promising everything that money can buy, the IPL has not been able to address this problem. Instead, it has contributed to its growth. This is particularly concerning this year as the World Cup starts a little more than two weeks after the IPL. In fact, this is the first time that cricket’s quadrennial showpiece is taking place after the T20 event, during which the body clock of the participants follows a different routine, not to mention the pressure to deliver. No wonder Virat Kohli urged India’s World Cup hopefuls to understand their body and ask their IPL employers for rest if they feel they are getting overcooked. Jasprit Bumrah hurting his shoulder on the second day of the tournament explains what Kohli was trying to say. Players do get injured, but in the IPL, they don’t always get sufficient time to recover before the franchises that spend crores on them press them back into action. That no solution has been forthcoming in over a decade makes one believe this is a built-in problem.
Along with its much-publicised benefits, this is the less-talked-about flip side of the IPL. The India skipper or others don’t usually mention it because the World Cup is held once in four years. It’s also a common problem in mass sports worldwide. Often for the football World Cup, countries turn up without their
top stars, who would have suffered burnouts while playing in the highly-demanding domestic leagues and the UEFA Champion League. Maybe it’s time for the cricket-playing nations to get used to