Ahead of the six-match ODI series against South Africa, India’s limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has expressed his concerns over the tight scheduling and mental pressure to switch from one format to another.
Team India had departed for South Africa more than a month ago and till now Virat Kohli’s troops have featured only in three Test matches. With the first ODI commencing on Thursday (February 1) in Durban, as many as nine Indian players will have to make adjustment from the five-day format to the one-day mode. No wonder, Rohit feels that such long tours usually take a heavy toll on players’ body and fitness.
"See, yes, there have been talks about going and playing just one format and then going back home. But for India it's never been like that. India has always played the whole series whenever we've gone abroad. And, yes, it tends to take a lot out of your body more than anything else,” Rohit said according to Cricbuzz.
"Whereas it's different for the overseas teams. They come to India, they play just one format, they go back, get refreshed and come back. Again it completely depends on BCCI, what happens there and what are the talks. But, ideally, we would prefer to just play one format. Go back, refresh, get some time to yourself, think about what you need to do and come back and play another format.
“But we're used to it now, doesn't matter. In a way, it can be good, like you can continue the momentum. Not if you are losing the series, but if you are winning, you'd like to continue as much as possible. We're players, we have to do what comes from the top," he further added.
It is pertinent to mention here that India skipper Virat Kohli had raised the same issue during England’s tour of India in 2016-17, when the English team had gone back home after completing the Test series and then came back to India after 25 days to finish the limited-overs leg of the tour.
"We should come back for a month as well from England. No point we play there for three-and-a-half months and everything we do is in the media's eyes, even our off time is scanned. I don't have any news of them enjoying their holiday in Dubai at all. I would like to see the same thing happen. Either they stay the whole tour or we come back for 25 days as well," Kohli had pointed out then.
After the completion of 6-match ODI series, the Men in Blue will play 3 T20Is against the Proteas. Virat Kohli and company’s 58-day long tour of South Africa will end on February 24.
India vs South Africa limited-overs itinerary:
Feb 01, 1st ODI – Kingsmead, Durban
Feb 04, 2nd ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 07, 3rd ODI – Newlands, Cape Town
Feb 10, 4th ODI – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 13, 5th ODI – St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Feb 16, 6th ODI – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 18, 1st T20I – New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Feb 21, 2nd T20I – SuperSport Park, Centurion
Feb 24, 3rd T20I – Newlands, Cape Town