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Back-to-back games can take a toll

One of the hardest things to do for a sportsperson is to play at a terrific level the previous day and then lift his game to the same level the very next day. More often than not, the sportsperson may try and put in the same physical effort again but perhaps the focus and intensity may not be the same, writes Sunil Gavaskar.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2009 00:30 IST
Sunil Gavaskar

One of the hardest things to do for a sportsperson is to play at a terrific level the previous day and then lift his game to the same level the very next day.

More often than not, the sportsperson may try and put in the same physical effort again but perhaps the focus and intensity may not be the same.

Certainly, the body will not feel the same, there will be niggles from the previous day. Of course, modern day cool down methods can help players recoup most of their body fluids and ice baths can ensure cramping is reduced.

Younger players do have faster recoveries but older players are smarter in the way they handle niggles.

In cricket, the limited-overs game takes a lot out of the players with its non-stop action and that’s why there is usually a couple of days between matches.

This allows the physio to treat the little strains that a player has, and even a more serious injury can be dealt with.

That’s also the reason why a physical trainer has become such an important part of international and domestic cricket, fitness has become crucial and often makes the difference between winning and losing.

Mental strength is also necessary but if a player is physically unfit, his mind is also going to give in quicker than others.

A win is always great for both the body and the mind and the recovery from physical and mental fatigue is faster after a win than after a loss when the whys and hows of the loss tend to stay on in the mind and make a person a lot more pessimistic.

India requested the Sri Lankan Board to play their two games back-to-back because the team was going to arrive late after the Corporate Trophy.

India play Lanka on Saturday. The hosts will have had a good three days’ rest that will take care of any niggles their players may have had after their game against the Kiwis.

It is here that India will have to show that they have what it takes to be the number one team in the world. It’s not just about physical fitness but about the mental attitude too, and if India shows the determination and grit to get to that ranking, then playing back-to-back games even in the energy sapping heat of Colombo should not be too much of a problem.

It is only the beginning of the season and the Indians are playing international cricket after a gap of two months.

But well begun is half done, and if India win then it will be a season to look forward to.