BY KUNTAL CHAKRABORTY
25 ODIs – the most by any team, 15 T20Is and 13 Test matches, 105 days of international cricket. Add to that a minimum of 30 IPL matches across two seasons, that is what the Indian cricketers will have to go through before the 2019 ODI World Cup in England – a fact that has forced the team management to put their thinking caps on.
In order to keep the cricketers fit and ready, India has come up with a unique method. While there have been limited changes in the five ODIs they have played in South Africa, a lot of chopping and changing have been going on off the field.
In a first, India has introduced rotation policy in training session, making each net session optional, which allows the cricketers to opt out of a training session if they wish to. Wah Cricket has learnt, the decision has been taken keeping the World Cup in mind. The likes of Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, who play all three formats, need to be given some time off. Instead of rotating them in the match, the team management has chosen the practice session for experimentations.
The training session before the fifth ODI at Port Elizabeth, which India won by 73-runs to claim its first ever series in South Africa, was also optional. Even a 4-ODI old Shreyas Iyer opted out of the session on the eve of the fifth ODI, despite knowing he will be in the playing XI.
However, opting out of the practice session does not mean, the cricketers stay away from cricket. They spend a lot of time with video analysts, working on their flaws and developing new methods to counter the opposition.
The team management has chalked out 20 cricketers for their World Cup 2019 plan and according to sources, these cricketers have been given a complete guideline on how much time to spend on the practice sessions and how much off it.
With the series already in their pocket, India are looking to take the rotational policy into the matches as well. Captain Virat Kohli has already hinted a few changes for the final ODI, while mentioning there will be no shortage of intensity from his side.