Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have all returned to India’s One Day International squad for the upcoming home series against South Africa after recovering from their injuries. However, the injury list is bound to get bigger if India continues to play non-stop cricket.
Dhawan’s shoulder injury was due to falling awkwardly while diving to stop a drive in New Zealand, while Pandya has recovered following back surgery. Mohammad Shami, who is now India’s finest strike bowler, is suffering from a shoulder injury after receiving a blow while batting. While injuries are part of a game - there are a number of players who suffer from injuries due to overuse or accidents - this needs to be addressed seriously.
India are the most sought after team in world cricket and every nation wants to play a series against them to earn good revenue. The Indian cricket board, despite being the richest, has been getting richer with each series too. Cricket is no longer a sports activity but a business to swell the board’s revenue.
It is wrong to expect everyone to be like Virat Kohli who can maintain his fitness despite playing continuously and scoring heavily. Though Kohli continues to remain fit, the recent plunge in his batting form could be due to non-stop cricket. Every cricket board looks to swell their coffers, but at the same time they need to introspect when more than five of their top players are victims of injuries.
The India team was lauded when they white-washed New Zealand in the recent T20 series; but when they lost the ODI series and Test matches to the same opposition, they were criticised. What needs to be kept in mind is that their top players were either not at their best or on the injured list.
Cricketers need to rest at home to recoup, and not be continuously travelling and living out of their suitcases for the major part of the year. Authorities claim that players are given adequate rest, but it is a fact that every country want to play against a strong India team with stars such as Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Shami.
Indian selectors have been focusing on increasing the bench strength, but they have not been able to win matches like the stars do through their exceptional skills. Those who replaced Sharma and Dhawan did not turn into matchwinners. So if India fails to limit the number of series they play, the careers of many of their stars could get shortened. Additionally, when India lose matches without their star players, they are likely to slip down in world rankings and get criticised too. All work and no rest can make players feel dull and barely enjoy the game.