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Rotate players to end club vs country debate

india Updated: Jun 09, 2011 00:54 IST
Aakash Chopra

The world seems to be getting increasingly polarised on the issue of whether a player should be permitted to choose his club over country, or should he not be given that prerogative at all.

While some reckon that it’s okay for a player to miss a series or two, especially if it isn’t as crucial a series, some on the other end of the spectrum have begun to suggest radical measures like banning the player from international cricket in case he chooses personal interest over national.

One would expect the ICC to overhaul the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and create a window for the IPL, and simultaneously cut down the number of international games to prevent player exhaustion. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, we may not see that happening anytime soon. On the contrary, the number of international games to be played will only see a rise.

So what’s the way out? Should we begin to take players’ absence with a pinch of salt? Or should we take a cue from other sports, which follow a far more hectic schedule than cricket?
Ever since the arrival of the IPL, we have observed players giving the ensuing, less important international series a miss either to recuperate from injuries or to give their bodies a well-deserved break. And that’s when a few fringe players get a look-in on the pretext that this is the right time to blood the youngsters. This policy
was followed while selecting
the team currently touring the West Indies.
As many as seven players from the squad which played the World Cup final aren’t featuring in this lineup and hence it provides a golden opportunity for the likes of Badrinath, Dhawan and Tiwary.

While it’s great to see these cricketers getting an opportunity, the bigger question remains unanswered and that is: Are these guys here to stay? Even if they perform exceptionally well in the series, will they retain their place when the seniors come back? My guess is that most of these players will relinquish their berth for the tour to England.
Baseball teams in America are dealing with a similar issue quite intelligently. While they play far more matches, there are strict guidelines that allow a player to play only a stipulated number of games in succession. It not only protects the player but also keeps the coaching staff on its toes with regards to using the players judiciously.