Ever so often a scenario emerges wherein the idea of managing workload in the present generation cricketers appears to get the goat of former cricketers. There has been a fair debate for some time now about whether the modern cricketer simply finds the various formats too taxing and therefore, carries the illusion of carrying more workload on his back than his predecessor.
The Indian Premier League never fails to rake up a debate along similar lines. Not only is the Twenty20 summer extravaganza an enticing, lucrative, financial opportunity for the cricketers but also, in some ways a necessary evil for simply that factor for the sustenance and security it provides the cricketer and his family, no matter how fleeting. While most cricketers willingly and sometimes grudgingly submit themselves to the gruelling nearly two month tournament, travelling home and away and playing under conditions that are sometimes either humid or under intense heat, the notion of feeling the load is often expressed only in terms of citing the international cricket calendar playing in national colours for breakdowns or simply breaks.
Shane Warne, one of the more successful former captains of an IPL team, recently shared his take which ironically is not that different from those of his contemporary generation who have played alongside or against him and in contrast to the current lot of cricketers who feel they are playing much more than cricketers have ever played before. The former Australian leg spinning legend was vocal about the fact that the idea of additional workload was a mere illusion and simply a case of viewing the calendar with a different lens.
For one, Warne feels that his generation of cricketers played a lot more first class cricket, even in the midst of a busy international cricket season. That fact can be attested to by the consensus around the cricket world that the modern day cricketer plays not enough domestic cricket in his own home not only to hone his own skills but also, to be able to impart his international experience amongst his aspiring peers. To an extent, it has been attributed as one of the reasons why while Test cricket has been enticing, it has not always lived up in terms of quality.
For another, playing three formats has become almost the norm for most cricketers and those that do not play limited overs cricket somehow tend to be the anomaly, almost forgotten right between seasons and/or series. With cricket now a virtually non-stop affair, played somewhere around the world, even if not all cricketers are participating, there is the illusion that there is too much cricket being played when perhaps there are too many cricket tournaments, particularly under the banner of Twenty20, being held which attract a bevy of cricketers, some part of a retired junket discarded for representation in national colours.
Perhaps what is a fairer line to draw is the fact that while most cricketers in the past went back to the drawing board by playing in this home town matches to maintain rhythm or correct errors, cricketers playing the three format game now feel the load of having to not only switch between formats but also, travel more as a result of meeting these commitments even though they are often seen skipping local and domestic tournaments as a result of it. In that light, it is easy to see why the idea of workload management in more professional set ups has become a buzzword, even if its implementation is still far from desired.