India Win Canberra ODI: No International Cricket Series Should Immediately Follow The IPL!

Even though the Indian Premiere League (IPL) is basically a T20 club-cricket tournament with multinational cricketers, the stakes involved in the tournament are immense. There is the great promise of moolah for every stakeholder: from the richest cricket board of the world BCCI to the national cricket icons or superstars, little-known domestic cricketers and international cricket stars. Every club or franchise is sort of produced by a business group or a rich investor, and all of the investors not only want their money back, but also shares of the net profits. The fantastic popularity that the IPL enjoys brings in the advertisers and commercial sponsors/co-sponsors. So, for obvious reasons nobody would ever like to give up on this annual bonanza, at any cost. No doubt, the BCCI had been desperate to organize IPL-2020 despite the pandemic, and finally grabbed the anticipated slot that was vacated by the ICC as the Cricket T20 World Cup-2020 could not be held. Not to speak of the other benefits that the domestic cricketers are expected to get in their careers.


The BCCI has long termed the IPL as a must event. The Indian cricketers, on the flip side, are the worst sufferers in this tournament: like the underworld there is no point of return for them once they get in; even injured players are forced to get fit in no time; the icons or the superstars are always the biggest attractions assuring the flowing advertising money; the rising or little-known domestic players have everything to gain from this tournament; the international players do not ever mind it because of the money and cricketing practice. With the industrialists and business tycoons breathing down their backs the Indian players cannot even think of quitting the tournament mid-way whatever be the reasons/grounds.


Naturally, the nearly two-month long tournament leaves the domestic players drained, and what they desperately need after is rest, at least for a fortnight, with families and friends. Therefore, whenever an international bilateral series or a world cricket event immediately follows the IPL the Indian cricketers hardly get enough time to regroup and reenergize. While the international cricketers participating in the IPL can leave the tournament early to attend to the call of their respective national duties the Indian counterparts have to go through to the last ball, despite the ‘national duty’ on which even the BCCI always takes an ambiguous stand.


The ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 was a glaring example in this context when the Indian players had only about a fortnight to prepare for the most prestigious world event that comes only once in four years, not annually. The international players got their precious practice and confidence-building in the IPL-2019, and left early to participate in their respective training sessions. And, the Indian cricketers, including skipper Virat Kohli toiling for a lost cause, had had to suffer through the full tournament with no training camps to follow. What happened? Perhaps the best Indian team ever fielded for World Cups could not progress beyond the semi-final, with topsy-turvy performances in-between. The IPL becomes a clear liability under such circumstances, and therefore, we strongly and in agony appeal that scheduling of international series or events must not ever be done immediately following the annual IPL.


The India Tour of Australia-2020-21 has been suffering directly from the scheduling with India already losing the ODI Series. With a host of restrictions and quarantine procedures the Indian players participating in the IPL-2020 in UAE since September had been both physically and mentally drained. Yet they had to proceed to Australia the very next day after the IPL final, and had again to undergo isolation for 14 days without any practice matches or sessions. It is only hoped that the Indians would gradually get acclimatized and be somewhat ready by the time the Test Series starts.


On the third and final ODI match in Canberra today India made a few changes in the team. Why? Perhaps only the winning Australian team enjoyed this prerogative. Since it has been widely reported in the media that ‘India now play for respect’, why then the management did not field the same team that they did not bother to change even for the decisive second match! The retained star batsmen of Team India for the Canberra match could do no better than on the earlier two occasions, and the pair of Pandya-Jadeja had to bat out of their skin to restore some of the ‘respect’. While Australia registered three centuries there was none from the superstars of India, and only Pandya, an all-rounder who never really bowled, reached the 90s twice.


India did get back the ‘respect’ winning a close match in Canberra by 13 runs, and lost the Dettol ODI Series 1-2. Mind you, this was a second Australian team thanks to Warner’s injury and experimentation with reserve players. Can Team India come back at least for the 3-match T20 Series that starts from the 4th of December, based on the benchmarked IPL-selection procedures exercised since the last few years? Perhaps the Canberra win would make them a little more spirited.


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