Indian captain Rohit Sharma said that the players will need to look after their bodies amid the rough and tumble of the Indian Premier League (IPL) so that they remain fit to do national duty at the ICC World Cup from October-November.
“It is all up to the franchises now. The franchises own them now. We have given some indications to the teams, but at the end of the day, it is up to the franchise, and most importantly, the players. They have to take care of their own bodies. They are all adults," Rohit said on Wednesday while interacting with reporters after the third match of the ODI series against Australia in Chennai.
“If they feel that it is getting a little too much they can always talk about it and have a break in one or two games," Rohit suggested.
India are already struggling with the absence of two of their key players - Shreyas Iyer and Jasprit Bumrah - both of whom have been sidelined with back issues. While the 28-year-old Iyer aggravated his injury during the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia earlier in March, the 29-year-old Bumrah has not been a part of any international cricket since September 2022.
Iyer will require surgery and could be out for at least five months, according to reports. Bumrah, on the other hand, has already undergone surgery in New Zealand. India can ill-afford any more serious injuries in the run-up to the ICC World Cup and so, managing the workload of the players is very important.
The IPL will last for nearly two months and will involve a lot of travelling with matches being organised across India on a home-away format for the first time since 2019. Also, there may be little chance of rest as the franchises had paid big money expecting their players to deliver sporting and commercial success. This is bound to put the players under a lot of stress, but with a chance to claim glory in national colours later in the year, the emphasis should be on not ignoring niggles.
Workload management has been the focus of the Indian team management too and stand-in skipper Hardikl Pandya said before the start of the ODI series against Australia that the players are comfortable with workload-related calls taken made by the team management.
India have a chance to win the prestigious tournament twice as a host, having won it in 2011 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
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