There is no easy solution to dealing with too much cricket for Indian players | Cricket

There is no easy solution to dealing with too much cricket for Indian players |  Cricket

Moments after India’s punishing loss to New Zealand on October 31, the task of explaining the reasons for their second consecutive loss fell to Jasprit Bumrah. When the question of fatigue playing a possible role in the team’s lackluster performance was raised with the star, Bumrah, whose performance had been flawless, said this in the post-game media interaction.

“Absolutely, sometimes you need a break. Do you miss your family. You have been traveling for six months. So all of that sometimes plays in the back of your mind. But when you’re in the field, you don’t think about all those things. “

On Sunday, the day India’s anticipated departure from the T20 World Cup was confirmed, Bumrah’s words were echoed by bowling coach Bharat Arun.

“Considering the volume of cricket our country is playing, I can guarantee that it is not easy to be in the bubble and continue playing throughout the year. They need enough breaks because I think even mental health will be very important in the future. And this is going to be the norm for us for at least one or two years, ”said Arun, who will step down after the World Cup.

While it would be disingenuous to cite fatigue as the sole factor in India’s midsize campaign (they were beaten by Pakistan and New Zealand), it would also be unwise to leave out the flip side of a hectic schedule and cabin fever. It cannot be a coincidence that India has failed to make it out of the group stage of the T20 World Cup on all three occasions the event has been held right after the IPL: 2009, 2010 and 2021.

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Most of India’s best cricketers have been at the center of the action under the narrow confines of a bio-bubble practically since last August, when preparations began for the 2020 edition of the IPL in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). . There has been a long tour of Australia, a home series against England, the first leg of the IPL in India, a tour of the UK involving the final of the World Trials Championship and four Tests against England and the second leg of the IPL in the United Arab Emirates. Unlike foreign players, the best cricketers in India cannot skip the IPL and take a break.

More than physical exertion, former India coach Ramji Srinivasan spoke about the psychological toll it can take to play in today’s environment.

“It is psychologically difficult. More than the physical aspect, the mental aspect takes its toll in a big way especially when the Indian team is playing throughout the year. Everyone can be on a similar level in terms of their physical condition, but if doubts arise mentally, then it is not possible to give the best of yourself, “he said.

Just because biobubbles have become a part of an athlete’s life doesn’t make them any easier to deal with, said sports psychologist Keerthana Swaminathan. “Bubble fatigue is 100% valid, especially if they say so themselves. We cannot deny it, ”he said.

After the T20 World Cup, the schedule is equally packed for players from India with assignments through July 2022 listed on the schedule. How should they deal with this? The obvious solution, according to Ramji, is rotation and prioritizing the availability of big players for tent events. The 54-year-old has also worked with some of the best Olympians in India and spoke about the importance of cricketers reaching their peak at the right time.

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“When the IPL takes place before T20 WC, the challenge is to peak at the right time. When someone is participating in the Olympics, they must peak at the right time to win a medal. Similarly, all planning needs to be adjusted and individual cricketers need to know when they need to peak. ICC tournaments must have the highest priority. Player rotation is important in this regard. Planning must start right now if India wants to win the 2023 ODI World Cup. “

Of course, there are challenges to rotation. Only England’s schedule in the last 12 months has been as grueling as India’s and they’ve found a way around it by resting players of all formats at certain times. It’s an approach that seems to be paying off now, but it earned them a lot of teasing during the February-March India tour when they chose to rest and rotate Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, and Moeen Ali. It meant they were never able to put together their best gaming XI over the course of a series of high-profile tests.

Given the huge sums spent for television rights in India, there is also likely to be implicit pressure from broadcasters to make India’s top cricket stars always available.

There may be no easy solution to these problems in a post-pandemic world. But if India wants to avoid bringing fatigue in the upcoming T20 World Cup, a viable solution must be found.

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