Columns - On the Ropes

Is India playing too much cricket?

By Radhakrishnan Sreenivasan
Thursday, June 18, 2021

A staggering 65 days of international cricket starting last October, 34 days of the Indian Premier League, travel across countries from New Zealand to South Africa to England? Is that enough to categorize Indian cricketers a tired lot?

The coach believes so but not the captain.

Gary Kirsten has blamed the Indian Premier League for player niggles and exhaustion. The Indian cricketing board, for its part has said the players always had the opportunity to rest if they needed to.

Though these two statements have merit when looked at in isolation, how will a player respond practically?

Will he be willing to forego the millions offered by opting to sit out of the IPL?

Or will he excuse himself from international duty knowing fully well that India’s bench strength is only getting stronger by the day?

No wonder then the coach and the captain are singing different tunes now. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said fatigue is not a factor for a disappointing tour to England but admitted there were a few niggles in the team.

The question is – were niggles due to too much cricket? Moreover, is fatigue an excuse or a fact of life? While Gary believes it’s a fact that India has to deal with, the captain is putting up a brave face this time around. In fact before the world cup commenced, while the South African had touched upon tired bodies and minds having an effect on the performance, the Indian captain had stated fatigue is a part of Indian cricket. So, it’s hard to comprehend how Dhoni has come up with what he has said now.

The BCCI has taken a very clear stance. The think tank knew what the calendar had in offer and therefore there cannot be any complaints. And if anyone does feel he needs to sit out, he is free to do so.

The ball, it seems is in the players court!