INDIA THE FAVOURITES FOR THE COLOSSAL EVENT?
World Cup 2015 in Australia was a great run for India. Team India was unbeaten throughout the tournament but however lost out to the mighty Aussies in the Semi-Finals. While the Indian fans were disappointed with the defeat, we all acknowledged the fact that we lost out to the mighty Australian team who were strong on paper/on the field and were also playing at home.
The mega event is finally here. Cricket World Cup, this time in England. How badly did we all Indians wait for this very year to arrive? Is it because the last cricket world cup was not in favour as we all expected?
Is it so? Perhaps no. I see it slightly differently. How big was the defeat against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final back in 2017? India started as the favourites, went on to play brilliantly through-out the tournament but were pummeled in the final.
INDIA IN ENGLAND
While the World Cup is mighty all by itself and specifically need not write on what makes it so special, Indian cricket fans also look forward to avenging the defeat by winning against Pakistan also keeping in mind the current political and the emotional equations between the two countries. Furthermore, India always fared well in England and have many special moments. 1983 World Cup win, 2002 NatWest Series Final, Champions Trophy 2013 and few more. Indian diaspora and the travelling Bharat Army would love to watch us lift the World Cup in England. Again.
LET’S GET TO THE REAL STORY
I think that’s enough of a hype-up. Let me directly come to what I intend to shout out loud. The bigger concern that I have as an Indian cricket fan is the preparation of the probable squad travelling to England. Fatigue being the primary issue, thanks to the upcoming IPL.
While there may be arguments about how the IPL will ensure the game time for the players right before the World Cup, we got to keep in mind that the IPL is happening in India and not on the English soil. This would nowhere help us getting adjusted to the English conditions.
Further, more importantly, IPL is not just about the game time (which is played in a different and shorter format). IPL is a carnival which is filled not just with games, but loads of promotional events, Ad-shoots, IPL post-match parties hosted by the sponsors and what not. Needless to mention, the kind of travel across the length and breadth of the country that the boys would do in the dead-hot summer is something that must be kept in mind.
Also, the Indian Cricket has had a very busy last 6 months. Played West Indies at home in October 2018, subsequently flew for the very long Australian summer-played all three formats and then flew to New Zealand towards January end. After a 15 day break, the ongoing Australian series commenced in India which would go on till 15th of March. Then the IPL madness starts. March 23rd to May 19th.
MUST THE INDIANS PLAY THE IPL?
Next up? May 25th, we play our first warm-up game against New Zealand at the Oval.
A 6-day gap between the final day of IPL and the first warm-up game of the World Cup. Yes. The yo-yo tests are all in place, good. Physically fit perhaps, but possibly exhausted. But wouldn’t the boys be mentally drained out too?
We’ve seen players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar come out in the open and suggest that he would take a call on continuing playing the IPL basis the fitness situation perhaps during the second half of the IPL. A Welcome move. Personally, I’d encourage this. Thanks to the intense schedule in the last 6 months, we’ve seen injuries/fitness concerns cropping up out of no-where.
Just can’t imagine going to England without a Virat-MSD-Rohit-Bumrah. Losing any of them is scary to say the least. Off late, all of them had some or the other fitness concern.
The more important question is, can the superstars afford to miss the tournament? The answer is much simpler than the question. Commercially would not be viable for the BCCI. Also, the players are heavily paid. Nor the fans would be excited in a situation where there is no MS Dhoni or a Virat Kohli or a Rohit Sharma. The strings attached are never-ending, franchises to broadcasters sponsors to fans. No one would like it. Period.
But at the cost of what? The World Cup?
It’s best if this is answered by the BCCI themselves. Or more importantly, the travelling players should collectively take a call. But do they intend to?
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