Captain Virat Kohli was at his sarcastic best when he commented on the tight fixture schedule while accepting that it’s the norm nowadays in International Cricket. After playing the third ODI against Australia in Bengaluru on Sunday, India will face off against New Zealand in the first T20 tomorrow with a gap of just five days.
He added, “Well, it’s definitely getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium straight, that’s how compressed the gap has become. But yeah, I think this kind of travel and coming to a place which is seven-and-a-half hours ahead of India time is always difficult to adjust to immediately. So, I am sure these things will be taken into a consideration a lot more in the future … it is what it is, and you’ve got to do the best you can to recover and to get used to the timings and just get on the park again. That’s international cricket for you today. It’s back to back.” After the five T20Is, India will play three ODIs in New Zealand followed by two Tests to end the tour on March 4 in Christchurch. That’s not it, though, for the season. Just eight days later, India will host South Africa for the first of three ODIs, the second leg of a series that saw three Tests in October 2019. The last of those ODIS is on March 18 and the IPL is likely to start in the last week of March, leaving roughly 10 days’ gap for the players.
A BCCI official, speaking to news agency IANS, admitted that although Kohli has the right to point out any scheduling issue that arises, the board always tries to keep players’ interests as the top priority. “He has every right to raise a point, but to be fair, all travel plans are made keeping in mind the interest of the players. If you see, we tried to space it out as much as we could post the World Cup when we played at home and the boys were also given a break during Diwali. Even if he would have raised the issue with the BCCI Secretary, it could have been addressed. While Kohli is free to express himself the way he wishes to, there’s a system that needs to be followed for resolution of issues and the core of the system is communication.”
The squad is the same set of players who faced off against Australia. And Kohli will be hoping they perform well against a very competitive New Zealand side. Incomplete rest-fatigue may result in injuries & that is the last thing India would want with a packed schedule to follow.