BCCI plans to hold meeting with IPL franchises
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to hold a meeting with the IPL franchises before the tournament’s 16th edition in a bid to monitor the workload of the players ahead of the 50-over World Cup at home in October-November.
At its review meeting with the Team India management on New Year’s Day, the BCCI had said that the National Cricket Academy (NCA) “will work in tandem with the IPL franchises to monitor the targeted Indian players participating in the IPL 2023”.
Sources told The Telegraph that the meeting will brief the franchises on how the NCA wishes to keep a tab on the players’ fitness. The recent spate of injuries to the players has pushed the Board to take such a step. While Ravindra Jadeja is expected to return to action during the ensuing Test series against Australia next month, Jasprit Bumrah’s availability is still under a cloud.
Bumrah, India’s premier fast bowler, has resumed bowling after being ruled out of the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand but hasn’t been picked for the first two Tests versus Pat Cummins’ team.
The franchises are, however, in the dark about how the pool of 20 cricketers chosen for the quadrennial showpiece event will be monitored. In the past, there have been instances when franchises have refused to divulge certain data with the NCA on workload management though they have shared medical reports.
The England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia have similar arrangements with the IPL franchises and they adhere to it since it is part of the players’ No Objection Certificates. This includes a limit on how many overs a particular player can bowl in a match and during a net session in the IPL. Any fitness related issue has to be directly reported to the Board concerned by the franchise which will then take a call on the player’s participation.
But will such an arrangement work with the BCCI? In the past, players have followed a rehab process designed by the NCA when playing for their franchises. But there has never been a limit on the players’ workload. The BCCI has an agreement with the franchises to make the best talent available and such workload management clause can never be imposed, feel at least two franchises.
During IPL 2020, hours after then Board president Sourav Ganguly announced that Rohit Sharma would miss the Australia tour with a hamstring injury, the Mumbai Indians captain took the field in a crucial tie for the franchise after having missed the past four games.
“There’s nothing official about it. The BCCI hasn’t told us anything. It wouldn’t be proper to make a comment on the basis of media reports,” Kolkata Knight Riders chief executive Venky Mysore said. But other franchise officials, who spoke under cover of anonymity, weren’t so guarded. “The BCCI cannot direct a franchise to rest a player unless he is unfit. After all, the players have a contract with the franchises,” a franchise official said. “The franchises also hire physios and masseurs who have worked with national teams earlier and so there’s nothing to panic for the BCCI.”
The players’ decision to skip national duty and play in the IPL snowballed into a debate last year after Sunil Gavaskar questioned the players’ commitment. The franchises’ meeting with the Board could help clear all doubts though it is unlikely that the team owners will agree to impose any cap on bowlers’ workload.