India's intense international schedule has ended with Australia series at home, and the cricketers are all set to head into the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, and Captain Virat Kohli has asked his players for some caution ahead of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
While the IPL will end on May 19, just 11 days before the mega 50-over tournament in England, Kohli has made it clear that the players will have to smartly manage their workload during the IPL 2019.
It is known that the IPL has always been an exhausting event for the player with the never-ending cycle of matches and travel, while the most of India’s ODI players are mainstays of their respective franchises, but there will be a serious challenge to manage the workload before the World Cup 2019.
Since the last IPL 2018, India has played 12 Test, 27 ODIs and 16 T20Is including just-concluded Australia series, and now Indian players are set for another hectic schedule and Kohli said it will be their responsibility to stay fit and fresh for the World Cup 2019.
While many cricket boards have been putting national duty above the IPL commitments, though, Kohli doesn’t think the same, as he is asking the players to not be committed to their IPL teams, but warned them to be smart and aware during the course of the T20 tournament.
Kohli told media at a press conference on Thursday, “Exactly what we spoke in the end in the change room was: ‘just go and enjoy these two months in the IPL’. Don’t think of performance pressure or I have to do this or do that. I think we deserve to really just enjoy our cricket and just go out there and play because of the joy of playing the sport.”
The skipper continued, “Being on the road for so many months does take a toll on you as a team. I’m not saying that’s an excuse because you’re expected to do that and be motivated to win every game you’re playing for the country. When you have a long season, you can always reflect on it. I am not someone whoever takes this as an excuse. If I’m not up to play a game mentally or physically, I’ll inform the management before and I think everyone’s responsible enough to do that.”
On successful last season, the 30-year-old, “It’s been a hectic season and we are proud of the season - happy with the way we’ve played, happy with the way guys have come around and shown their ability as players and confidence we’ve carried as a team. It’s really great to see. From that point of view, I think all of us just deserve to go to the IPL and just enjoy these two months.”
On workload, he added, “We’ve given the responsibility to the player to be smart and to inform the management of the franchise and be in touch with Patrick [Farhart], our physio. All the workload will be monitored during the World Cup - and given a window, the guys can afford to rest. I can guarantee that because a World Cup comes every four years and we play IPL every year.”
Kohli signed off by saying, “Not to say we won’t be committed to the IPL but we’ve got to be smart. We have to work in balance and make smart decisions. The responsibility and the onus is on the player. No one will be forced to do something. Eventually, everyone will know no one wants to miss the World Cup and cost the team good balance.”
(With PTI Inputs)