Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer Deepak Chahar believes the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be the ideal platform for Indian players to return to on-field action post the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to originally kickstart on March 29 with CSK taking on defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), the IPL 2020 remains indefinitely postponed because of the deadly outbreak.
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Keeping in mind the heavy losses, BCCI and IPL franchises are hoping for the pandemic to soon be over and travelling restrictions to be completely lifted so that they can go about planning for the tournament in another window.
Chahar thinks training camp followed by game time in the IPL will help players get back into the groove for a rejigged international calendar.
"We will need to slowly get back into the system and I believe that IPL could be the perfect vehicle for us to return to cricketing action. It helps that we have a lot of games and that gets you into the rhythm," he told IANS.
"If you make a player play an ODI or Test immediately after the break, the body might break down due to the load. Like when you hit the gym, you don't do a 100kg bench press to start with."
"Similarly, playing the IPL will help not just the bowlers, but all cricketers as the level of competition you get here is top-class. But we do need a proper camp before the IPL starts so that we can get back into the groove after this phase away from the game," Chahar added.
Time away from the game has been longer for Chahar than some of his India teammates. He went down with a stress fracture in December 2019 and go through a lengthy rehabilitation programme before the pandemic firmed its grip and the country went into lockdown in March.
"When I got to know of the injury, it came out to be a stress fracture and that takes 3-4 months to heal completely," he said. "So initially it did feel a little scary because it was such an important phase in my career as I was doing well in T20Is and was just getting into the groove in ODIs. But I have had injuries in the past and I knew how to go about it and come back stronger."
"When the lockdown started I had become fit and was looking to make a return. But now that when we were told that we needed to stay indoors to fight the pandemic, I thought it was an opportunity to work further on my strength. I trained my heart out. In fact, the 2.5 years before I got injured, I wasn't getting the time to work on myself as I was playing non-stop."
"If you make a count, I would have hardly come home for 25 days and that too for periods of 2-3 days at max. My strength in the lower body had decreased and since I was playing non-stop, I couldn't work on it. The body needed a period of 30-40 days away from the game," added the pacer, who was fantastic in T20Is last season.
"Slowly the action was also starting to suffer because when you keep bowling different variations like the knuckle ball and the slower bouncers and all, the action does change a bit. So this break helped me work on my action as well as my lower body strength. As a pacer you want the lower body strength to be on top," Chahar concluded.
(Inputs from IANS)