Is too much of cricket affecting the performance of the Indian cricketers in the IPL?
It has always been said that the performance of Team India in Test matches (especially overseas) has gone down due to the Indian Premier League. The players do not opt for a good amount of rest before a major tournament and they also choose not to skip the IPL due to various reasons. But what we have witnessed in this year’s IPL is that quite a few Indian players have played so much International cricket, since the 2014 season, that their IPL performances for their respective teams has gone down considerably.
Indian players have been playing non-stop cricket since the beginning of 2014 as they played 6 bi-lateral series, 1 Tri-series, 2 World Cups, IPL (2014), CLT20 (2014) and an Asia Cup as well. So much of cricket is sure to take a toll on a cricketer’s body and affect their performances in particular tournaments.
Such was the case with the Indian players like Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Umesh Yadav. These players have hardly had any break and they came into the IPL right after the World Cup got over. Even though they did well in the World Cup, their performance in the IPL this season was not up-to the mark. They have been the back-bone of their respective IPL teams but this season they struggled throughout the tournament.
Raina fails literally for the 1st time
Suresh Raina was a major disappointment in the IPL as he had done so well or Chennai Super Kings since the last 7 seasons. But this season, he could only manage to score 374 runs in 17 games this season whereas, he has a record of scoring more than 400 hundred runs in every season since the inception of the IPL. His inability to be consistent this was one reason why CSK in their away games.
CSK Skipper MS Dhoni also, was not able to set the IPL on fire this season, as he always has. He ate up too many deliveries at the start of his innings and could not give a fiery finish to the team in most games.
Now we come to the spinners, Ashwin and Jadeja who are an integral part of the Indian team as well as the CSK line-up. Apart from a few good performances at their home-ground, Chepauk, the duo looked very ordinary. Left-arm spinner Jadeja, took 11 wickets in 17 games this season which is very less in comparison to last season in which he took 19. In his case, it has to be mentioned that he hasn’t been the same ever since he came back from the shoulder injury that he sustained before the World Cup.
While Jadeja got clobbered around the park, Ashwin was unable to take wickets for his team. As they could not do well this season, Dhoni had to bring in Pawan Negi to add value to the bowling line-up and strengthen the batting in the lower order.
Indian Opener, Shikhar Dhawan who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL just scored 1 fifty in the last 8 games for SRH which is not expected out of an opener like him. It was mostly a one man show from SRH as skipper David Warner had batted brilliantly throughout the tournament. Kolkata Knight Riders’ pacer Umesh Yadav also did not have much of an impact with the ball as he leaked a lot of runs. He took 10 wickets this season but his economy rate was over 9 runs per over.
Players need to manage workload
With these players proving to be a failure in this year’s edition of the IPL individually, you cannot really pinpoint any particular reason other than fatigue. Teams like Australia, England, Sri Lanka who play a lot of International cricket make sure they get enough breaks so that can keep themselves fresh. But that is not the case with the Indian players as they are playing cricket literally throughout the year.
We can take an example of medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been brilliant with the ball for SRH this season. An injury prevented him from playing 3 out of 4 Tests in Australia and also he was warming the benches during the World Cup. That really kept him fresh and he was raring to go in the IPL. The results were there to see as he was one of the contenders for the purple cap.
To play in a tournament like IPL wherein you play games almost every alternative day, one needs to make sure that they get enough break before the tournament so that they feel fresh and perform to their potential. Even though on the contrary, players like Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma did well despite playing majority of the matches over the last 12 months, it remains to be seen if they get affected by the same during India’s next international assignment.
Someone like Mohammad Shami for example has received a well deserved break even though it came on the back of an injury he sustained. With the CLT20 getting scrapped, let’s hope the Indian players get some much needed break at least during that window.