It is not just India but also, other cricket teams around the world that are raising the critical issue of managing workload, particularly with the attention now squaring turning towards the ICC Cricket World Cup. But while some have suggested a two team policy to reduce the burden on cricketers, the issue is far more complicated than it seems on paper.
At the present time, there is no current Test playing nation that is composed entirely of Test cricketers alone. In fact, if anything, there has been the contention put forth by the most players themselves that they would not like to be branded as a one trick pony and therefore, relegated to any one format alone.
Even those that play Twenty20, sometimes accepting their fate as specialists in limited overs cricket or those looking at an easier route to retirement, often do prefer to play both formats, one day internationals as well as Twenty20, rather than be chosen for just the one. In such a scenario, there are very few players who have cut themselves off from playing Test cricket or even contemplate playing Test cricket in the future.
With the Indian captain most vociferously raising the issue of managing workloads, while some former cricketers have contended they spent longer time on tours, others are of the opinion that there has to be a method to the madness even in such a scenario. However the rotation of players has been a somewhat contentious issue because no player likes to be rested while in form given the competition for places in the lineup and also, given the proximity of major tournaments such as the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.
Unless a particular player enjoys the favour of the captain, it is not easy to see how players take to being given a break without a certain pattern given that very few have managed to cement places quite like the captain himself.
Besides even if a team fields two different teams at any one time, which is cutting off their talent pool, it is not an easy proposition on the fans either because of the level of competitiveness that is likely to take a beating when certain versatile players are cut off from the roster altogether. What could, also, precipitate with such a move is cricket boards, already looking to double and triple their pockets, may look to host tournaments simultaneously across formats, thereby reducing the weightage given to each platform and premier event and thereby also, reduce their overall cricket fan base.
There are already contentious issues of players playing far less cricket, particularly in the five day format and forgoing domestic cricket and four day games as a result of it and not being held accountable for the lack of match practice as well as for the fact that their experience could broaden the intensity base to strengthen domestic cricket. These are matters that must be taken into consideration before the powers that be can decide if cricket can exist as a cohesive whole if its world were to be divided into two clear divisive lines that players must now choose. While it puts the format with less commercial interest for cricket administrators in peril, it threatens to devalue the sport’s credibility overall, not to mention, depriving the sport of some of its greatest, most versatile champions.