The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest cricketing body in the world because the Indian market is very lucrative and it is also why the Indian cricket team has been playing non-stop cricket for so many years.
Rest Good For Mental Health
The hectic cricketing schedule has taken its toll on the mental health of a number of cricketers over the years. English cricketers Marcus Trescothick and Jonathan Trott could not cope with the stress of playing so many games away from home. Australian cricketer Glenn Maxwell came out in 2019 and asked for a break from cricket citing mental health issues.
However, you will not find any Indian players complaining about mental health issues. This is not because Indian players do not have any mental health issues but because of the stigma and consequences associated with taking a break from the game. Indian players know that if they decide to take a break, there is always another player ready to take their place and they know that it will be very difficult to get back into the thick of things!
Players also have a complex that they will be viewed as mentally weak and not being able to cope with the pressures of being a cricketer. This is why they prefer to suck it up, keep silent and continue to play a hectic schedule.
With the 2020 IPL being postponed, Indian cricketers have not played any cricket for over 5 weeks. Since India continues to be in lockdown mode, players have not been able to go to the gym or have a practice session in the nets. The extended break should benefit the core group of players that play ODIs, T20s and Test cricket.
However, the extended break may not be good for all Indian cricketers especially those on the fringes and domestic cricketers in general. This is because many of these cricketers were looking forward to the 2020 IPL to bring in a decent pay check and also impress the selectors.
With no confirmation on whether the IPL will take place this year, many cricketers will be anxious about their cricketing future and also their finances as the IPL tends to pay young talent fantastically well!
Rest Not So Good For Fast Bowlers
There is a common belief amongst fast bowlers from yesteryears that fast bowlers must bowl even during the offseason to keep themselves like a well-oiled machine. The extended rest has made it impossible for Indian fast bowlers to even exercise, let alone send down a few overs in the nets.
The spinners will not be impacted as much as the fast bowlers because there is a greater demand placed on the body and rhythm of a fast bowler. Fast bowling is all about rhythm and the extended rest will make it difficult for the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav to hit their straps when cricket resumes.
When a fast bowler does not have enough overs sent down during the off season and is rushed back into international cricket, they tend to break down quicker and suffer serious injuries. It will be up to head coach Ravi Shastri and the Indian think tank to work out a proper schedule of how to get the fast bowlers back to speed!
Rest Should Benefit The Batsmen
While the extended rest will hurt the fast bowlers, it should benefit the batsmen – at least most batsmen. The reason we cannot generalize is because some batsmen prefer to spend a lot of time in the nets to get their hand-eye coordination going. The lack of net practice will hurt batsmen who fall into this mould.
However, there are a few batsmen who need a break from cricket to get over that poor patch of form. Some of these batsmen include young Rishabh Pant, test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Indian captain Virat Kohli. The break from cricket will help them start with a clean slate and will also have them hungry to score more runs!
One of the biggest concerns that the Indian management will have to address is measuring the fitness of the core group of players. A lack of exercise, no access to the gym, no net sessions and being locked at home with access to home cooked food 24×7 might have gotten the better of some cricketers who might have let their fitness standards drop.
If cricket can resume in the next couple of weeks, the rest will have more benefits than harm in general. However, if cricket is pushed back for another month or two, then the rest will do more harm than good for India’s cricketers!