‘You have to listen to your body’ - Rohit Sharma on IPL workload

Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians Director (Cricket Operations), defends skipper Rohit stating the disadvantages of a long lay-off before a World Cup.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

Ahead of the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said the onus will be on the individual players to manage their workload leading to the World Cup.

Rohit — who is also the vice-captain of the Indian team — revealed that most of the Indian players want to play the tournament as it will help them get used to match situations.

“I spoke to Indian team players and they say, they want (to play a) lot of games to stay in touch. You take them away from the game and they lose the (rhythm). The individuals are smart, they know when to rest,” he said on Monday.

“It’s a bit challenging. We have always been on the road for the last three-four years and you have to listen to your body. If my body tells me to rest, I will. If I can continue, I will. It’s as simple as that. But we are here for one of the biggest tournaments in the world and that’s our priority as well,” the Mumbai Indians captain said.

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It’s not just his views. “Not just me, other guys as well need to see what our body needs and take decision accordingly,” Rohit said.

Former India pacer and Mumbai Indians’ Director, Cricket Operations, Zaheer Khan, also defended Rohit. “I have always felt that at the end of the day, it is an individual call. You have to decide and respond to how you are approaching the game, and what kind of signals you are getting. And there are individuals, who are working with different trainers so they are also connected. So, we all recognise how important the World Cup as a tournament is, but we also understand what IPL brings to the table,” he said.

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“It brings match practice and intensity. You don’t want lay-off for a long time for any cricketer, be it bowler or batsman. He needs to be in touch and deal with the pressure. That’s going to be a huge factor in the World Cup, so we understand that. Things and steps will be taken keeping things into consideration,” Zaheer, who represented India in three World Cups in 2003, 2007 and 2011, said.

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“There has been a lot of talk around workload for the World Cup. We have to trust the squad and each and every member. As fans, we have to take this pressure off them,” Zaheer said.

Elaborating further, he said: “You don’t want them to play in a tournament thinking ‘Oh, what if I get injured?’ You are creating a scenario where players will think that if I give my 100 per cent and get injured playing the IPL, I will be blamed for that. It’s everyone’s responsibility to take off the pressure and who guarantees that the injuries won’t happen?”

Having worked with various franchises in the past, Zaheer understands the importance of keeping players fit for the tournament. “I have always endorsed that playing more matches always help in that zone and rhythm is not (stopped). It (also helps staying in) the pressure situation. If you have to rest a player right now, when he doesn’t need rest, is he going to get intensity at the nets?” he questioned.

“That pressure in the match scenario is never replicated in a training scenario. No matter what. We have to make peace with the workload talk and World Cup slot,” the former India pacer stated.