India’s Injury Concerns: How to Balance?

Here we are on the eve of a five-match Test series between England and India. Even before the series starts, India finds itself with four players injured. Gill, Sundar, and Avesh were ruled out of the tour a week ago and the latest on the list is Mayank Agarwal after suffering a concussion, which rules him out of at least the first test. So, how the management shall better handle India’s injury concerns in the future?

Repetitive Injury Concerns

Off late, this is nothing new to Indian cricket. Had it not been for the huge reserved talent pool, the team would have lost even before the start of the series. We can all rejoice and marvel at the achievements in Australia with our 3rd choice bowling lineup and 2nd choice batting lineup. However, to be the reckoning force like 2000’s Australia or the ’70-’80s West Indies, some changes are essential.

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To me, there are two primary reasons for injuries. Either a fitness issue or fatigue. For the current pool of players, I don’t feel there are fitness concerns. Aside from Chakravarthy and Samson in the recent past, I don’t recall a player being dropped for lack of basic fitness. The bowlers look strong, the batsmen look agile. It really gives the outlook of the team full of athletes. However, it is the fatigue factor that seems responsible for the frequent injuries in the team.

Too Much Cricket

A fatigue factor generally points to the quantity of cricket being played around the year. More often than not, the centrally contracted players play a majority of matches. Only the 2021’s schedule has the series against Australia, England – home and away, Sri Lanka, World Test Championship, ICC World T20, and the IPL. Aside from the Sri Lanka tour which was an afterthought, the rest are big games under a high-pressure environment.

In order to control the fatigue factor, the BCCI needs to address the workloads of the world-class players, especially the multi-format ones. Even the IPL scheduling needs careful attention, now that the number of franchises is set to increase.

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The BCCI’s goal should be to assemble a squad that can win matches across the world. Kohli’s India should be spoken in the same breath as Lloyd’s West Indies and Waugh’s Australia. To achieve this the elite players must be kept fit. Just like England, the rest and rotation are very crucial for this.

The Scheduling

I feel the home season should not have more than 5-7 test matches every year. Even the limited-overs series and IPL shall be scheduled accordingly. This will allow players to plan their training, rest, and recuperation schedule more effectively. Doing so may not show a commitment to test cricket, but it may reflect in the intent of being the best.

For the 50 over format, the world cup cycles need to be planned much better. The first 2 years shall be reserved for the opportunities to the deserving players. The final 2 shall be used to streamline the final 15 for the world cup. In the shortest format, the inf-form players shall be the better candidates rather than the ones with stats, as the format does not allow players to find form.

We cannot compensate for players getting injured during a game as that is part and parcel of the sport however certain muscular injuries can be mitigated by better planning of training schedules as we do not want players getting injured in the build-up to a major test series.

What are your thoughts about the better handling of India’s Injury concerns? Do share with us in the comments.

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