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K.R. Nayar column: Why top cricketers won’t rest despite the overkill

Like Tendulkar, Kohli’s presence in maximum matches now sought after

Gulf News

Virat Kohli’s remark that he also needs rest and that he is not a robot has brought to light once again the topic of too much cricket these days.

If a player wishes to rest then he should do that, but that does not seem to happen — especially if he is a top performer like the Indian captain.

If a series has been scheduled and a player feels tired or fears a burnout, he should stand up to the fact that he plans to skip the series.

But this does not happen because if the player happens to be a world class player, his cricket board and fans want to see him in action.

However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given in to Kohli’s request by resting him from the ODI series against Sri Lanka.

Till Sachin Tendulkar hung up his boots, he was in huge demand; now it’s Kohli’s turn. One may wonder why is it that India’s top stars hardly get a break when compared with other countries.

Any series against India evokes huge television viewership and that generates money. Hence all countries look forward to play India.

Top cricket authorities have brushed aside the topic of excess cricket by stating that players are free to opt out of a series and take rest; but once a series is scheduled no player will want to rest, even if he is aware that needs to take a break.

There is also this fear that in their absence another player may take away his slot through a top class performance.

Additionally, no cricketer would be willing to forego the money earned by playing instead of resting to recoup.

Even if a player is rested by the selectors, more often than not he will not be resting at home.

Instead, he may be at some advertisement shoot or may even play in a match or tournament that gives him good money.

Players justify these acts by saying that their career span is short and need to make money for the rest of their life.

Players also know that the amount of money he can amass would depend on his performance, and hence no cricketer would be willing to be away from the scene of action.

Even if a cricketer feels he is playing too many matches, he will never skip the lucrative Indian Premier League.

All this boils down to one cardinal truth that cricket is no longer a sport but a business.

Players are products with a value, and their value depends on the number of runs and wickets and not on the number of days he rested.

Cricketers can rest only if cricket boards reduce the number of series they stage. Unfortunately, the boards, like cricketers, will never want their earnings to dip too!