World Cup 2019: Resting bowlers for the IPL? M. S. Dhoni thinks it may not be a good idea

M. S. Dhoni, who took India to the title win in 2011, believes bowlers could be fresh for the World Cup even if they participate in the IPL.

M. S. Dhoni (left) believes a fine balance has to be maintained by those desiring to keep themselves fresh for the World Cup.   -  Sandeep Saxena

How to keep India’s fast bowlers fresh for the World Cup? There has been plenty of debate on this topic, and some have suggested the bowlers be rested for the 2019 Indian Premier League that precedes the all-important tourney.

Anil Kumble, the former India captain, expressed similar ideas in a panel discussion here on Friday, but M. S. Dhoni provided some interesting counter-view.

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Keeping the bowlers fresh would be an important aspect of India’s preparations for the World Cup, according to Kumble. “One of the most important parts of preparation will be keeping yourself (players) fresh as there is a lot of cricket coming up from now till the start of the World Cup. Keeping the bowlers fresh will be an important aspect. Maybe resting some of the top bowlers in a few of the IPL games, even though franchises may not like that or want to, but for India’s sake, has to be considered,” he said.

Fine balance

However, Dhoni, who led the side to the World Cup triumph in 2011, said, “Keeping our bowlers injury-free will be very, very important. If you rest them, the first thing commentators say is, they are rusty. And if you make him play, then is he fresh. The fine balance is something difficult to manage but if you can manage your schedule, the four overs won’t make you tired. What is important is what you do after bowling those four overs. The four-over games actually keep you at your best; you are bowling the yorkers, bowling the variation and playing under pressure.”

IPL is the best time to get in shape, says Dhoni. Photo: PTI

 

“The bowlers can still play the whole of the IPL but what they need to manage is what they eat, when they sleep and wake up. I would like them to be at their best when it comes to the skill factor,” Dhoni said.

‘Best time to get in shape’

“I always felt IPL was the best time to get in shape because I had a lot of time to train. I was playing only three-and-a-half hours every third day and it gave me time to spend in the gym. What is more important needs to be done rather than what looks right,” Dhoni reasoned.

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Dhoni also added, “What will be crucial for us is to play the World Cup like a bilateral event. We have played very good cricket in limited-overs since 2015 to that extent that our top-order has done very well and not many chances are given to middle-order. One of the crucial things will be, what can we do so that our middle-order also gets a chance to bat.”

In the World Cup, India plays its first match in Southampton, against South Africa, on June 5, 2019.