Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid emphasize the need for workload management for India

Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid

India’s newly designated T20I captain, Rohit Sharma, emphasised the need of relaxation for players in the middle of a crowded cricket schedule. Rohit’s remarks come as India prepares to face New Zealand in three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests only days after the completion of the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Betting in India will surely be in favour of the home side for this series, with the hosts already leading 1-0 now.

New Zealand, for example, played Australia in the World Cup final on November 14, before flying to Jaipur for the T20I series, which began on November 17 (yesterday). This would continue with subsequent matches on November 19 and 21, as preparations for the next T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia in October-November next year, begin. Both teams will want to be in top gear and perform with the cricket bat.

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“We place a high value on workload management. Players are not robots. Taking time off is vital,” Sharma remarked during a virtual press conference on the day of India’s match against New Zealand in Jaipur. “Some players who have been playing for a long time need to relax in order to stay fresh. We want all of our guys to be psychologically prepared for the trials that lie ahead,” Rohit said.

After spending extensive time away from family in bio-secure conditions, India has rested a number of its first-choice players for the next series, including Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammed Shami. To add to the list of absent players, New Zealand’s skipper, Kane Williamson, has opted out of the T20Is in order to concentrate on the upcoming two match-Test series.

India arrived in the UAE for the T20 World Cup with a full itinerary. They played an all-format series against Australia from November 2020 to January 2021, followed by another all-format series against England at home in February-March. Following that came the 2021 IPL, which began on April 9 but had to be postponed in early May due to the development of Covid-19 cases within the bio-secure bubble.

In the interim between the IPL’s return in September this year and the postponement announcement date of the IPL, India played the World Test Championship final, which preceded the five-Test series against England from July to September. The fifth and final Test in Manchester was called off due to Covid-19 contamination in the Indian camp.

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While this did provide the players with a small respite, they were almost immediately thrust into the second leg of the IPL, which lasted from September 19 to October 15. Only nine days later, on October 24, India faced Pakistan in the first match of the T20 World Cup. After hosting New Zealand, India will go to South Africa for an all-format series that will take place between December 2021 and January 2022.

It’s hardly unexpected that Indian head coach Rahul Dravid agreed with Rohit. “Because there is so much cricket these days, workload management has become a critical component of the game,” Dravid added.

“Like we see in football, seasons are so lengthy, and some of the best players do not play in all of them. So, if we’re going to be playing all year, we have to be cautious about player workload management. Whether we do it as a team or by giving them a break will be determined on a case-by-case basis.”

“However, as I previously said, the players’ emotional and physical well-being will be the most essential, and we will work in and around that; the team will also take precedence. So it is a balancing act, and we must recognise that we must do this balancing act at this moment in order to have everyone healthy and ready for the major tournament,” he concluded the conversation by saying.

Previously, there were comments by the likes of Jasprit Bumrah suggesting something that the players were tired after poor performances in the T20 World Cup. Keeping that in mind, some of them may want more rest and to take a break. However, the way that things are, the schedules are really ruthless at present and there is no time for a break.

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