MS Dhoni is well known in the past for his unique perspective and the efficacy with which he uses it to execute his game plan on the field.
Two mega events are all set to take the cricketing world by storm the next year. One being the action packed Indian Premier League and the other being the most crucial ICC world cup. More cricket means more action which means more workload on the bowlers in particular.
Significant changes have been made in the IPL 2019 season keeping in view the World cup which is scheduled to commence soon after its completion. Many cricket fans are in thorough curiosity so as to how the team management is going to manage players playing both the formats. While some say the IPL will be losing its charm with important players being rested on the bench, others are in fear of India’s performance in the world cup after a hectic IPL season.
Very recently, two former captains, MS Dhoni and Anil Kumble have fuelled this ongoing discussion with totally contrasting views. In a panel discussion organised at the launch of a coffee table book on N. Srinivasan’s 50-year
association with India Cements, Kumble revealed that keeping the more important, World cup in view, the franchisees should look to rest key players of their teams featuring in the World cup so as to preserve their fitness and prevent the chances of injury.
“One of the most important parts of preparation will be keeping the bowlers fresh as there is a lot of cricket coming up from now till the start of the World Cup. Even though franchisees may not like the idea of resting India bowlers, but for the country’s sake, it has to be considered.”
CSK skipper, MS Dhoni however differs from such a perspective by the former skipper. He believes that playing cricket on a continuous basis keeps a player oiled and smooth and that instead of asking them to warm the benches in the IPL, their efficient scheduling would be helpful in the forthcoming World cup. Dhoni stressed on the importance of keeping the bowlers devoid of any injury or fitness issues prior to the World cup.
However he did not second the perspective of resting then from all the IPL matches. He justified his statement by saying that a player completely rested is termed rusty by the experts and a player playing all matches without rest would be termed as being unfresh. Dhoni therefore gave his opinion that if a bowler’s schedule is managed efficiently after the playing hours in terms of fooding, gymming and resting, then these four overs would in fact prove to be the best platform to groom perfectly for the World cup campaign.
“Keeping our bowlers injury free is very important. If you rest them, the first thing the experts say is they are rusty, and if you make him play, then say ask ‘is he fresh?’ But if you can manage your schedule during the IPL, the four overs won’t make you tired. What is important is what you do after bowling those four overs. The four-over game actually keeps you at your best, you are bowling the yorkers, bowling the variation and playing under pressure.”
Dhoni also added that IPL in fact provides the perfect platform for the bowlers where they get to know their skill sets and how to execute them at crucial junctures of the game and hence focused on bowlers playing the IPL matches ahead of the World cup.
“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. I always felt IPL was the best time to get in shape because I had a lot of time. 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 also gave an interesting perspective to the World cup by asking all to approach it like a bilateral series where the team has emerged victorious in most occasions. Although Dhoni’s opinion on the bowlers featuring in both IPL and World cup sounds highly intellectual, we will have to wait and watch the approach and gameplan of the franchisees in the upcoming IPL.