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IPL workload concern: Boards devise unique way to measure player burn out ahead of ICC World Cup

With the World Cup beginning less than two weeks after the end of the IPL, cricket boards are trying to ensure their players are not burnt out by the T20 league.

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2019 13:38 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ICC World Cup,World Cup,ICC
File image of Indian cricket team players(AP)

It’s easy to lose sleep over the Indian Premier League, if not for the performances then certainly because of the hectic schedule.

With the World Cup beginning less than two weeks after the end of the IPL, cricket boards are trying to ensure their players are not burnt out by the T20 league. Using mobile apps and wearables, they are monitoring the sleep duration of the World Cup probables to ensure they remain fresh for the showpiece event.

“A lot of the players are now monitored by apps by their various cricket boards. They have a wellness app attached to their phones and they are entering sleep data,” said John Gloster, ex-India physiotherapist and currently with the Rajasthan Royals. “I also encourage them to filter back to me their sleep performance. It’s part of our logistical planning to ensure that players get minimum eight hours sleep.

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“Poor sleep performance is often related to poor injury profile,” he added. “So, it’s very important to monitor sleep.”

Gloster added that an Athlete Management System (AMS) is being used by almost all major teams to enhance the performance of the players. “Many of the cricket boards use wellness apps, what we call the AMS — Athlete Management System,” he said. Cricket Australia has been using one for four or five years. It’s being updated all the time. Two or three other boards are also using them. The ICC is now using an AMS system for the associate countries to collect data and it’s widely used by the Olympic athletes for self monitoring. It’s the best tool for us (physios) if the athlete is remote to us for consistently keeping an eye on their day to day wellness.”

Cricket Australia’s Fair Play Athlete Management System collects a vast amount of data through equipment attached to the players’ bodies. They have even tied up with Microsoft for greater understanding of the data received.

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Indian players wear a ‘GPS catapult’ which measures the impact of training on individuals. The GPS ‘vest’ under the shirts mostly measures the following metrics through magnetometers — total distance covered, number and distance of high-speed runs and sprints, number of accelerations and decelerations, impacts and collisions, and heart-rate exertion. The numbers are then analysed for future course of action. They wear these vests whether they are training for India or for their IPL team.

“Every individual has a different programme (of training) according to their body type, age, flexibility profile, history,” Gloster said. “We need to be specific about the condition they are in. That’s the beauty of having the data. It gives me an exact training load. I can monitor their body reaction because both over-training and under-training can lead to injury. We use the data to decide the duration of the training session according to the individual data profile. There is no such thing as blanket training these days,” he said.

Gloster added that the national team’s physiotherapist Patrick Farhart gets all the data of the contracted players. “We communicate with Patrick all the time. Any player on our list who is centrally contracted, his GPS data is provided to the board. It’s important to have that communication channel open at all points of time,” he said.

“Patrick does not dictate about what is to be done or not done. He is always there for direction. I am feeding the GPS Data catapult information to Patrick, so that he can have an idea about what load his players are subjected to. That will help him deduce how adequately a player is prepared for the next tournament. This being a World Cup year makes such communication even more important.”

First Published: Apr 09, 2019 13:32 IST