Opinion: It’s not just the Indian pacers who should skip the IPL before the World Cup
Reports of Virat Kohli’s suggestion to Committee of Administrators (CoA) to consider the case of the Indian pacers skipping the IPL and representing India in the 2019 ICC World Cup without any injuries is a step in the right direction. Whether eventually this will happen is anybody’s guess.
BCCI and IPL franchise owners need to discuss this issue threadbare and find a possible solution. There is no doubt that the IPL owners too would like India to do well in the World Cup. But they have invested too much in cultivating the brand IPL and also the fan-base of their respective franchises to be able to just let go of the marque’ players.
In any case, a decision on it will most probably be taken soon. If discussed properly and if issues of both the World Cup and IPL interests are given equal weightage, then a middle path can certainly be reached.
Just as some boards of countries like Australia and England have instructed their players playing in IPL to play only till 30 April, BCCI too could implement the same for Indian players. This is where one wonders why Kohli only talked about Indian pacers and not all the players who will represent India in the World Cup.
It’s true that an injury to someone like Jasprit Bumrah while playing IPL could irreparably damage India’s chances in the world cup. But isn’t the same true for a possible injury to Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma?
If at all, the workload of Indian batsmen such as Kohli and Rohit is much more compared to that of players like Bumrah or Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Whereas a Bumrah or Kumar can bowl their quota of 4 overs in an IPL match and field in the outfield for the remaining overs, Kohli and Rohit would have to be intensely involved in the match for the duration of the entirety of the match.
Being captains of their respective franchises, they would have to carry the burden of field placing, of selecting a team, rotating the bowlers, apart from of course taking on the responsibility of scoring the bulk of their runs, as they are the mainstays of their respective teams.
At the very least, key Indian players such as Kohli and Rohit should not be burdened with captaincy this time around in IPL. And like the pace bowlers, they should also try to skip some of the matches, if not all of them.