Former India head coach Ravi Shastri feels the matter is something he is unable to wrap his head around but one that needs immediate attention.
There is no doubt that India are as one of the firm favourites for the T20 World Cup, but at the same time Rohit Sharma and Co. are aware of a couple of factors that they need to overcome. One is India’s bowling attack, which is without their premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah. His absence is believed to be felt dearly given how India’s pacers have leaked runs lately. The trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel have struggled to keep the opposition quiet especially in death overs. And with Bumrah’s replacement yet to be named, a big question mark still hovers over the Indian bowling unit.
The second and the most important point is Indian players’ unwanted tryst with injuries. India, who are already without Bumrah and star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, copped another blow when Deepak Chahar too was ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to an injured back. This is Chahar’s second recurrence of a back injury as the 30-year-old had already missed several months of action due to the same earlier in the year, and now, when India were seeking a solid replacement for Bumrah, Chahar’s last-minute injury has only increased the selectors’ woes.
Weighing in on the spate of recent injuries, former India head coach Ravi Shastri feels the matter is something he is unable to wrap his head around but one that needs immediate attention.
“It was the most frustrating thing for me as (India coach), when you lose key players to injuries. We toured England and New Zealand twice. On all those tours, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was injured, where he’d have got a bagful of wickets with his skills. Now, you see Chahar has hardly played, and he’s injured. I was looking at the stats, Bumrah has played 5 matches since the last T20 World Cup and he’s injured. So, you’ve got to look at it very seriously, as to why it is happening,” Shastri told Ayaz Memon at a ‘Meet-the-media programme’ at the Mumbai Press Club.
While there is no set pattern to reduce the number of injuries, Shastri did advice management and coaches to be aware of the players’ workload management and urged them to take the tough call when need be. With cricketers playing cricket non-stop, including multiple international tours and assignments, to go with the IPL, players are bound to break down. Hence, Shastri reckons that if needed, players should not be shy of limited their appearance in the IPL if it comes in the way of international duty.
“With the volume of cricket that exists today, it’s extremely important that you get the balance right of how much a player plays. When should he be rested? And there, a (BCCI) president can play a big role. Tomorrow, if a cricketer, for the sake of playing for India, needs to be rested in the IPL for a certain number of games, so be it. Where, a (BCCI) president has to sit with the franchise and explain that he’s extremely important for India first, and then the franchise,” Shastri added.
“Discussions can take place with the team management, as to which are the players who need rest, who, if they carry on in this fashion, will be spent forces. And then take that forward to the franchise. In no way getting in the way of the franchise, but in a nice way telling them that he’s an important player for India. National interest is paramount.”