Franchise T20 leagues around the world have thrown up the country versus club debate, but the injury withdrawals from the IPL this season seem to indicate that a quiet compromise is also being struck to maintain that balance.
Kings XI Punjab batsman, Glenn Maxwell, pulled out on Monday due to side strain, the latest among the Australia players who have pulled out due to injury. Nine foreigners, majority of them Australians, with the others from England, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand, have pulled out due to injury.
Cricket Australia have announced that Maxwell’s injury is not serious and he will be fit for next month’s tour of West Indies. When Aussie skipper Steve Smith quit Pune Supergiants’ too, the national team physio had said there was no serious injury.
IPL sources say players also keep in mind the national team schedule. “You must look at the international futures tour programme and IPL standings. There is no point in key Australia players burning out. Everyone wants to stay fit for the tight schedule ahead. In such a scenario, even niggles become a decision-making injury,” an IPL insider told HT.
Pune are at the bottom of the points table and out of playoff reckoning. Besides Smith, Mitchell Marsh and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis pulled out due to injury. KXIP batsman Shaun Marsh and KKR pacer John Hastings, both Aussies, too are out. Punjab too are out of the playoff race.
West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons (MI), Kiwi pacer Adam Milne (RCB) and Kevin Pietersen have also pulled out.
“There are other factors that lead to a player’s injury. The IPL schedule is very tight and there is little time for recovery. Traveling after late night matches and irregulars meals are a big issue. And don’t forget Indian summer heat. I don’t think players are faking injury because as professionals, they love to play and perform,” Dr Ashok Ahuja, former head of Faculty of Sports Science, NIS Patiala, said.