Indian captain Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates
Indian captain Virat Kohli and his teammates are cutting it fine to arrive in England. Image Credit: PTI

Are the Indian cricket team flying from India to England for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 a bit too late? It is difficult to comprehend why this team, touted as strong favourites, are reaching the UK only on May 22, just eight days before the start of the World Cup. Every cricket playing nation knows that it takes time to get acquainted with the cricketing conditions in England.

The cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) ended just 10 days before the scheduled departure of the Indian team, making the team’s and the board’s priorities very clear. They had no plans of going early for the World Cup, despite being aware that they should have done it since getting familiar with English conditions is a major task.

Many are of the opinion that on today’s professional circuit, cricketers can quickly adapt to any condition. However, when India lost to England in a series last year, the players had complained that they should have had more time for practice in England before the start of the series.

The World Cup 2019 dates were decided long ago, and hence scheduling could have been done in a way that players get enough time in England. It is also a well-known fact that many of India’s star cricketers have a number of commercial shoots to complete since it is during the World Cup that they are able to swell their earnings as models for various products.

Arch rivals Pakistan scheduled a five-match series against hosts England and are currently adjusting well to the conditions there. Though Pakistan have not beaten England so far, they have managed to post huge scores and getting the hosts to strive hard to win.

Many of India’s players who were playing for the IPL were travelling heavily and playing late night IPL matches. So no one really knows whether they are exhausted. India have a talented team, so everything should have been done to ensure they are in peak form, both mentally and physically.

While most teams will be going into the World Cup after playing One-day matches, India’s players arrive after only a T20 experience in the IPL. It is not only Pakistan and England who are playing ODI matches; West Indies and Bangladesh are in Ireland’s tri-nation series, Australia, Afghanistan and New Zealand are having a few ODI warm-up matches, and Sri Lanka are playing an ODI series in Scotland.

As professional cricketers, every player is supposed to quickly adapt from a Twenty20 to a 50-over format. It is easy to assume that every player can do this, but the reality is that in 50-over cricket, every ball is not meant to be hit out of the ground, and bowlers are not supposed to only check the run flow. Horses for courses apply for cricketers too.