The Indian Premier League was tough on the players in terms of travelling in its original 45-day schedule. So it’s anybody’s guess how much more stressful it’s going to be in its rescheduled 37-day programme.
The shorter itinerary with number matches remaining the same (59) will raise the frequency of matches and travel, evident from the fact that teams would now be required to play as many as eight to 11 games with just a day’s gap between two games.
“It’s of course going to be tough on the players. It will also increase the risk of injuries,” said Ravinder Chadha, a former India physio.
Chadha believes the improved fitness standards, awareness and players now being used to such hectic scheduling will help them cope with the situation. “Having said that, the players need at least a day between the games, especially the fast bowlers who shoulder maximum load,” he said.
However, it’s going to be tough to get even that one day of rest because most teams will play a majority of their matches with just a day’s gap in between and on the rest day, they would travel to other venues. This will make recovery difficult.
“Recovery time is the most crucial factor in keeping players injury-free. There isn’t enough time to rest, train and for physical conditioning and this will make the players injury prone,” said a physio working with a top Ranji team, not wanting to be named.
The players themselves, however, aren’t giving it much thought for obvious reasons. They know it’s a huge platform, which, apart from instant fame and money, can ensure a bright future.
“It seems it’s going to be tough, but then I am just not thinking about it. All I am thinking now is about a chance to play the IPL in South Africa,” said a Kings XI player.
The hectic scheduling might bother India’s international players, who will come into the IPL from the long tour of NZ and then have the T20 World Cup immediately after that.
But they will quietly live with it, as they did the last time.