Around the same time, India’s Test cricketers enjoy a break between the World Test Championship and the five-Test series against England, another squad, largely comprising T20 players, would be touring Sri Lanka. Though it’s a circumstance necessitated by the pandemic, it could be a recurring theme in the future, said both India coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli.
Shastri believes that it’s the perfect means to take cricket to a wider audience. “If you want to expand the game in the shorter formats of the game, it could be the way to go, if you want to have that kind of volume of cricket, especially in the shorter format, and when you want to spread the game across the globe, then that could be the way ahead. Because if you are talking about Olympics in four years or eight years’ time, then you need more countries to play the game,” he said.
It’s no longer a one-off incident. On more than one instance, Australia had two national teams playing different formats in different parts of the world. Kohli, though, sees it an opportunity to share the workload. “With the current structure and the kind of structure we’re competing inside, it’s very difficult for players to stay motivated for a long time. So, this will definitely become a norm of the future where apart from the workloads, I think the mental health side of things will come into the picture big time because you don’t have an outlet at all in today’s day and age,” he explained.
#TeamIndia Head Coach @RaviShastriOfc on whether the ICC World Test Championship Final is like playing the World Cup Final. pic.twitter.com/hAp0yCUqeO
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 2, 2021
For instance, soon after the England tour, most of the Indian players would head to UAE to complete the IPL season. Then follows the T20 World Cup. Add to that quarantining and bio-bubbles, thus forced to spend days in hotel rooms, players could creak mentally. “You have no space where you can just disconnect from the game, go out for a walk, or go out for a meal or a coffee and say let me just refresh myself, let me just get away from the game a little bit,” he said.
️ Happy to have the opportunity to play the World Test Championship Final: #TeamIndia Captain @imVkohli ️ pic.twitter.com/jjFEwEisrD
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 2, 2021
So workload distribution would help players from crumbling under mental pressure, he says. “As much hard work as we have done to create this team, you don’t want players falling out because of the mental pressures and not having the capacity or space to express themselves. I think that channel has to be always open – the management has left it open – for the players to approach them and tell them: ‘Look, I am not feeling right in the head. I just need a little break and I just want to disconnect from the game’,” he elaborated.