‘One of the few teams with enough skilled pacers in reserve’: Ian Chappell lauds Team India for ‘meeting challenges’
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has opined that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the skillset and mental health of cricketers as they are forced to spend ‘extended periods’ in the bio-secure bubbles. He also mentioned that the pandemic has impacted the scheduling of Test matches as well, which has been a grind for the fast bowlers.
In his latest column for ESPN Cricinfo, Chappell recalled the 2020-21 Australia vs India Border-Gavaskar Trophy where the host pacers ‘wore down’ while the touring party managed to stay fresh despite being hampered by injuries.
“The Covid-ravaged world has meant cricketers spend extended periods in bubbles, which challenges their skills and their mental health. It has also resulted in scheduling that has Test matches crammed together, which is physically and mentally demanding, especially for the fast bowlers,” Chappell wrote.
“While the 20th-century cricketer had the occasional back-to-back Test over the Boxing Day-New Year period, now it's more likely the schedule will include back-to-back-to-back Test matches than not, which is a real grind for all concerned.
“This was highlighted in the last Australia-India series, where the home side used the same fast-bowling trio in all four Tests. As the Australian pace bowlers wore down in the final stages of the series, their Indian counterparts may have caught a break as injuries meant they had to constantly change personnel,” he added.
During the series, the senior Indian pacer picked up injuries and kept on getting ruled out. However, the youngsters stepped up and showcased played a crucial role in India’s series triumph. Heaping praise on Team India, Chappell stated,
“India is one of the few teams who have enough skilled quick bowlers in reserve to meet the challenges of the schedule and still remain competitive.”
The former Australia skipper also wondered whether retired players would want to earn the same rewards as the current crop of cricketers does or whether it is now the current players missing being part of a different era.
“It would be interesting to discover if retired cricketers envied the rewards paid their modern counterparts or whether current players would swap today's whirling merry-go-round for the casual approach of the past. I suspect most international cricketers are just happy to have played,” said Chappell.
(With Agency Inputs)