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Need of hour: Recovery period

BCCI’s crunched calendar has left players with no time to recuperate, Team India looks jaded at T20 World Cup.
 

Published: 03rd November 2021 07:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2021 07:46 AM   |  A+A-

India's Jasprit Bumrah, left, talks to India's KL Rahul during the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  This India team knows how to rebound. They have a history of turning things around, and quickly too. Even as India face Afghanistan (on Wednesday), Scotland, and Namibia with their semifinal qualification hopes hanging by a thread, the turnaround should not be restricted to the desert alone. It should certainly happen back home, in the corridors of power. 

Even if India dramatically get through to the semifinals, it will not conceal the cracks that exist in their T20 cricket. The affliction is not restricted to the team composition or availability of resources. They are critical, but it has to do with the tight schedule each of the top cricketers are subjected to in a calendar year too. With bio-bubble factor sneaking in because of Covid this time, the challenges are manifold, both mentally and physically.

One such significant factor that seems to troubled the team is ‘fatigue’ caused by the back-to-back series that have been slotted in the calendar. In the two matches so far at the T20 World Cup, despite both being played a week apart, India players have looked jaded. It is understood that several players are struggling with recovery. The postponed IPL only made it worse. It was played during peak UAE summer. With little time left for the World Cup, the team struggled to recover.

Too tight a schedule
However, an early exit from the World Cup would mean India will get an eight-day rest before they play their first of three T20Is against New Zealand on November 17. The three-match series is so tightly slotted -- five days for three matches -- that players would struggle to get enough time to recover. Even the two Tests against the Kiwis will get over in 13 days with the first Test in South Africa starting just nine days later. And once they finish the tour of Rainbow nation on January 26, they will face West Indies in a limited-overs series between February 6-20. Then Sri Lanka will come calling for a full-fledged series beginning on February 25 and ending on March 18. 

The IPL 2022, which has 10 teams and 74 matches now, will commence shortly after. Head spinning? No hang on. Soon after the IPL, India will host South Africa in June for five T20Is, before leaving to England in July to play limited-overs series and the postponed Test match. Enough? Not yet. As per the Future Tours Programme, they will tour the Caribbean for another limited-overs series in August. Then there is the Asia Cup, which will be in a T20 format, as a precursor for the next T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia in October-November.

Not as recommended
There is not even a 10-day gap between in any of these series. As per the Lodha panel recommendations that brought around several changes to the BCCI’s style of functioning, one aspect stood out for the cricketers. A 15-day gap was deemed mandatory before each series as it tried to address players’ burnout and health. The BCCI’s office-bearers have shown no inclination to implement those recommendations because they stand to lose the power. Since the Supreme Court has not looked into the BCCI case, the board has not been penalised or pulled-up. 

This event should be a big concern for the BCCI and could lead to some introspections. This might lead to the debate of fielding separate teams in the three formats. Though the decision would be commercially motivated, having a separate team for T20s could actually be beneficial. It is a format where they need to reboot and be bold enough in team selection too. 

If they continue to pick the same players who are featuring across all formats, no fitness coach will be able to prevent them from burnout. Unless, they address these key things, they risk falling short in Australia too.



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