Cricket is a sport, a sport played for entertainment, for some, it’s a passion, a medium to express, while for many it’s a religion. But the way cricketers are burdened with a hectic cricketing schedule is heart-wrenching. After being originated back in the 13th century, cricket has been followed worldwide and with time, its only gaining importance in other parts of the universe. But, the work life a cricketer is undergoing, is only on a hike.
When India won the Test series against Australia, there was joy, there was excitement, there was elation, but the density of it was relatively less. Why shouldn’t it be? India played back-to-back Test series first against South Africa, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and then Australia. And in between all that, there were the shorter formats against every one of them excluding Bangladesh and Australia. This is undoubtedly too much of cricketing action for the fans as well as for the cricketers.
In any sport, winning matters. For any sportsman, be it cricket or football, no feeling is as great as winning. Though they say winning or losing is a part of the game, but ask Virat Kohli on his views about winning a game and you’ll know what winning is. But when a victory is coming so often and that too in a shorter span, it certainly loses its flavour and enthusiasm. And this is what India has been facing in the recent times. Big moments gets evaporated quickly from the minds of fans as they have too much to remember, which an average cricket fan can’t. And while we are cribbing about all the voluminous cricket schedule, one just can’t deny the kind of excess workload a cricketer is going and putting his body on the line.
With the emergence of T20s and especially the franchise based T2o tournaments, the number of matches being played by a cricketer has scaled newer heights. This was not the scenario couple of decades back, which was relatively saner. By looking at the assignments a cricketer has, it would be safe to say that not many will come as close to breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record of playing 200 Tests.
Players burnout on the cards, and their body is getting torn in doing so.
India’s cash-rich extravaganza Indian Premier League is just a few days away from its tenth edition and the apprehension for the same is huge. But amidst all this, some bad news made headlines on Friday. Kohli is a household name in the fraternity, he brings so much to the table with his presence. And in IPL, he is a superstar. But the finest white ball batsman has been ruled out for the first few games due to injury, which came as a shock to many. It wouldn’t be wrong in saying, that IPL will not be the same without Kohli. India’s ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and KL Rahul will miss out on the whole season of IPL while Umesh Yadav and Jadeja are expected to miss the initial phase. Murali Vijay’s inclusion is also doubtful for the big league.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) April 2, 2017
The standard of cricket has gone up massively, which is only nourishing the game but to meet that the players are giving it all. Kohli, Rahul, Jadeja, Ashwin, Umesh and Murali Vijay were all integral parts of India’s team during the home Test season. And their unavailability is a testament to how much they’ve been burnout.
Earlier, Australian speedster Mitchell Starc decided to discontinue his association with Royal Challengers Bangalore for the upcoming season. Starc wanted to focus on his fitness and get well-oiled for the elite ICC Champions Trophy in June. Although he suffered a stress fracture in the second Test against India, but his reason for not playing emphasises on players being weighed down. Not just Starc, South African all-rounder JP Duminy has also pulled out citing personal reasons. Apart from this, AB de Villiers, Dwayne Bravo, Martin Guptill, Mitchell Marsh, Mustafizur Rahman and Quinton de Kock have suffered mistimed injuries, which make some of them unavailable for the whole season.
— Avi Kothari (@iamavikothari) March 31, 2017
Will this IPL have enough flavour after all these big names not being present at the dugout?
Let’s focus on Ashwin’s case, which was not any injury but a result of excessive action. Ashwin has been ruled out due to sports hernia, which occurs when muscles in the groin area tear. Ashwin played a total of 13 Tests this home season, and 3 One-Day Internationals (ODIs). To be precise, he bowled 738.2 overs, which is most recorded by a bowler in a Test season. It’s a mind-boggling number for any bowler and one can now predict the kind of hard yards Ashiwn has put.
Ashwin is ruled out of IPL due to injury However he is expected to fit for Champions Trophy…
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) March 31, 2017
Talking about Kohli, the Indian skipper has played 12 Tests, 8 ODIs and 3 T20Is this season, which is 71 days of cricketing action (approx). Jadeja, on the other hand, has some discomfort with his spinning finger and why wouldn’t he? After all, he has sent in 717.2 overs in all the 13 Tests he played this season.
A fast bowler’s survival in cricket is comparatively low to a spinner. Umesh has been a part of the team for 12 Tests and 6 ODIs, and has now been rested for a couple of weeks of the IPL. Numbers don’t lie, or do they? With Champions Trophy being played right after the IPL, no team wants to jeopardise their best players.
One this is for sure, the current season of IPL will miss out on many international stars as compared to all. It has undoubtedly affected IPL and only time will tell how badly.
Also, one can’t expect this numbers to decline as the number of cricket games being played is for a while with every passing year. Why can’t cricket boards have ‘horses for courses’ strategy for different formats? The retirement age of players have come down, Mitchell Johnson, Brendon McCullum and many more retired earlier than anticipated. If things continue in this fashion, players will probably fizzle out early, which will do no good to cricket. A sane management of cricket schedules and cricketers is the need of the hour. And, this scenario of players being ruled out should be considered as a big alarm by the cricket boards.