Now that the focus shifts back to the main course that is the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England, the question nobody is willing to visit is: how much rest have the Indian cricketers enjoyed as a result of the travelling circus of the Indian Premier League and whether the words of the Indian captain held any merit in the end?
To say teams and players ignored Virat Kohli’s heed to manage one’s IPL workload in the wake of the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup would be erroneous. At the same time, it appears next to no players have exercised the right to ask to sit out of games and be allowed to prepare for the ICC Cricket World Cup. Call it the thrill and intensity of the IPL or the pressure to perform for franchisees who get to evaluate their investments once a year.
While one might state the case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it was only when his back spasm became unbearable that the former Indian captain sat out a couple of games for his franchisee. However, given how precariously the Chennai Super Kings performed in terms of consistency, it was little wonder that it was not long before Dhoni was back at the helm, marshalling his team, almost to the trophy, missing it by one run to the Mumbai Indians in the end.
It begs the question that when players have played anywhere between twelve to fifteen matches, how much rest they have been able to bring to their game when it comes to turning out for national duty? While it seems that the mantra of the more you play, the more fit you stay has been applied in the case of the bowlers including Jasprit Bumrah, one cannot rule out the tediousness of the exercise of travelling almost every alternate day, playing under intense heat in the Indian summer and of a seven and a half week tournament that would have been highly intense, demanding and with pressure from the franchisee owners themselves to produce results.
While only Kedar Jadhav, apart from Dhoni, was an injury concern, that too in his last IPL match, the Indian cricket team can only hope that the injury list as a result of the IPL remains static, with players sufficiently buoyed by the IPL participation to be raring to go now in national colours.