- Sinchan Saha | March 15, 2023 | 4:33 am
Due to recurring injuries to some primary players, the Indian team’s preparation for this year’s ODI World Cup appears to have hit a roadblock. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) and the team management are contacting the sports science department at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for clarification given that Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia as well as a significant portion of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Iyer is the most recent player to join a fairly long list of players who have been declared fit by the NCA and then collapsed during a game
The board has also kept Jasprit Bumrah’s surgery in New Zealand a secret. Deepak Chahar’s frequent breakdowns had already caused the team management to become frustrated.
After receiving a lot of criticism last year for rotating too many players before the T20 World Cup, the team management and national selectors had decided in January that they would play a core group of around 18 to 20 players leading up to the ODI World Cup.
“How does one expect to play with a core group when the primary players are breaking down despite such thorough workload management? The issue is being raised with NCA. The team management and the selectors are back to creating a set of backup players now. There has to be someone accountable for this,”a source told TOI.
In addition to Bumrah, Iyer, and Chahar, the management of the team had decided to prepare Prasidh Krishna for the ODI World Cup. It turned out that he also had back surgery and won’t be able to compete in the IPL. In domestic cricket, the board had decided that players would have to demonstrate their match fitness, but Iyer did not follow that rule.
The fact that so few players barely participate in even 30 international matches per year puzzles the men in charge. Since an ODI in Zimbabwe in August, Krishna has not participated in a single game in a competitive setting.
Last year, it was suggested that Bumrah should have surgery, but the procedure was put off until after the T20 World Cup. The NCA waited for Krishna to get better through rehab, but he had to have surgery eventually.
When Nitin Patel was promoted from Team India’s physio to head of sports science and sports medicine ahead of three other strong candidates, the BCCI had restructured the entire structure at NCA the previous year.
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A dedicated team works on players’ “return to play” issues.
“These injuries that are happening now are serious ones. They would require a lot of time to recover and be back in full flow. Making a settled team has become a challenge. The NCA has taken charge of ‘targeted’ and ’emerging’ players in the state sides. To have a situation where you play these players directly in big tournaments is not ideal. The selectors were still fine with Bumrah even playing directly in the World Cup but to have a group of such players is unpleasant,”the source said.
The management of the team is also uncertain regarding the pacers in the next line. Several have been selected for the Indian team, but injuries have plagued them frequently. After missing the Asia Cup in September, Avesh Khan suffered a breakdown in the middle of a strong Ranji Trophy season. In the later stages of the tournament, he returned to NCA and joined the Madhya Pradesh team again.
After the disappointment of the previous T20 World Cup, Indian cricket has attempted to reset and altered its preparations. The management of the team is attempting to correct the errors. The NCA needs to lend a hand at this point.