As the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets bigger every year, players are finding it tough to cope with the hectic schedule of the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings have played five games in 10 days since the league started April 4. Cris-crossing the country has started taking a toll on its players and it reflected on their performance as they have lost three out of the five games.
They have been travelling every alternate day, their key all-rounder Albie Morkel said that the hectic schedule has taken a toll on their mind and body.
Super Kings' played a night game in Delhi, April 10, and took the field against Royal Challengers Bangalore in an afternoon match April 12 in the hot and humid Chennai.
"It is quite challenging, especially the travelling part. If you don't play at home, you just travel and train," the South African said.
"I hope they could have organised in such a way that we don't have to play a lot of back-to-games. One way of doing that is that they can make the tournament longer. Back-to-match matches are really tough on the body," added the all-rounder.
Super Kings opener Faf du Plessis concurred with his compatriot and said that organisers could find a way of streamlining the format in the future.
"You literally practice, play and fly. It is tough even though we are international cricketers. But at the same time, there is not much you can do when there are nine teams around and you got to play them home and away," Du Plessis said.
Du Plessis said the schedule of the domestic T20 tournament in South Africa is more relaxed than the IPL.
"It is more relaxed out there (at home). We play 10 games and here (India) it is a lot of flying. You get time there," he said.
South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn, however, feels that nothing can be done much with the tournament as their is no official window in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the tournament.
"There is nothing much you can do about the duration. You got to play a lot of matches and there is limited time. So I think the organisers are doing a fair job as of now. It can't be an issue for us as we are used to the travelling," the Deccan Chargers fast bowler said.
The IPL has grown since its inception in 2008. The first two editions, played with eight teams, had 59 matches each while the third edition was extended by a match to 60. The fourth edition, when the league was expanded to 10 teams, had 74 matches and IPL-V, with nine teams, has been extended to 76 matches.