‘The amount of cricket we have played…’: Ravi Shastri speaks out on ‘forced break’

Written by Abhishek Patil

Team India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that the forced break owing to the coronavirus pandemic will hold the Indian cricketers in good stead as it will help them rejig and re-energise themselves. He was speaking to Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Rob Key on a Sky Sports podcast and this is where he said that it was good time for the players to take a break.

“[This rest] cannot be a bad thing because towards the end of the New Zealand tour, you could see some cracks coming up when it came to mental fatigue, physical fitness and injuries,” Shastri said. “The amount of cricket we have played over the last ten months, that was beginning to take its toll. Guys like me, and some other guys from the support staff, we left India on May 23 for the World Cup in England. Since then we have been at home for 10 or 11 days.

“There are certain players who played all three formats, so you can imagine the toll it has taken on them, especially being on the field, adjusting from T20s to Test match cricket and all the travel that goes with that because we travelled quite a lot. After England, we went to the West Indies, then played South Africa here [in India]. We had a season of two and a half months here and then again went off to New Zealand. So it has been tough but a welcome rest for players.”

India is currently in a 21-day lockdown. The ODI series between India and South Africa was cancelled after which the Indian Premier League was deferred till April 15.

“It came as a shock but to be honest, having been on the road during the South Africa series, we guys anticipated it,” Shastri said. “We knew something was on the cards as the disease had just started spreading. When the second ODI was called off, we knew something was gonna happen and a lockdown was imminent.

“I think the players knew it was coming, they sensed it in New Zealand. There were apprehensions towards the end of that tour, when flights were coming through Singapore, out of Singapore. By the time we landed [in India], I thought we got out at just the right time. There were only two cases in New Zealand at that time, that has rocketed now to 300. The day we landed, that was the first day they were screening and testing people at the airport. So [we came back] just in the nick of the time.”

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Abhishek Patil