Workload management will be one of the major concerns for the Indian team management leading up to the World Test Championship (WTC) at The Oval in June. With most of the top guns getting busy with the Indian Premier League (IPL) - that begins on Friday - the team management and BCCI are careful about monitoring the fitness regime of the WTC final-bound players.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Mumbai Indians head coach Mark Boucher indicated that he will allow captain Rohit Sharma to take rest for a game or two if the situation demands.
“In regards to resting Rohit, he is the captain. Hopefully, he gets into some good sort of form and I hope he doesn’t want to rest. But yeah, we all adapt to different situations. If I can get the best out of him as a captain and player, that will be great. If it means he wants to rest one or two games, then I will do that. Absolutely, no problem,” Boucher said.
A few top cricketers like Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer are missing out on the IPL due to injuries, and keeping in mind a packed international calendar, the BCCI wants to ensure that all its key players are well taken care of. Captain Rohit also revealed that after the ODI series against Australia ended, he had a long chat with all the players in terms of how to manage their workloads in the next couple of months.
“After the last ODI, we had a long chat with the boys. We have talked to the players and told them to look after their bodies. When they go to play for their respective franchises, it is not much that they can control. It is up to the franchises, their physios and trainers and medical teams on how to handle their players. All these are adults and they know how to manage the entire situation and come back fresh for the final (WTC),” Rohit said.
As far Mumbai Indians is concerned, only Rohit is a certainty for the WTC final, but even then, when the IPL begins, the captain wants to be flexible in his approach.
“In our team (Mumbai Indians), we have got so many young players who haven’t played a lot of cricket, so there is no question about workload management for them. But look, during the season, if something happens and we have to adapt to it, we will adapt to it,” Rohit said.
“If we have to look after our players, if we have to rest a few of our bowlers, then we will give them rest. We have been very flexible in terms of getting the players right on the park. We will follow the same procedure that we have been doing with MI all these years. We will keep assessing who needs what, who will need a break. If the situation demands for us to give someone a break, we will do that. We have got a fine medical team with some of the most experienced physios and trainers. We will hear them out and see what is the right call to be made for an individual,” Rohit said.
Boucher’s different take
Mumbai Indians head coach Boucher, however, has a different take on the workload management. “It’s amazing we are actually talking about workloads in T20 cricket. Probably 10-15 years ago, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation. Workload is something that we have got the science behind it. We have got the trainers who give us all sorts of data and you just have to be adaptable to the situation that’s in front of you. In order to get the best out of every player, you need that space to look after him and see that he is in the right mode to perform. If he is tired, you need to rest him. If he is not tired, that’s a great situation to be in,” Boucher, who until recently was the coach of South Africa, said.
“We will adapt to every situation. A lot of talk is given to workloads and all that kinds of stuff. T20 cricket, if you look at our schedule, there’s a nice gap between games to sort of rest and recover and we can look after every player. I don’t see workloads being a major issue for us throughout the IPL,” he added.
“Sometimes the media, people look too much into workloads. Especially in T20s, it’s a short game, three hours where you have to give your best with 100 per cent intensity. Like I said, 15 years ago, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation. Test cricket and One-day cricket is tough on the body. T20 cricket is short, so we shouldn’t be talking about workloads…”
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