Shreyas Iyer’s decision to opt for rest and rehab on the advice of a specialist in Mumbai when the National Cricket Academy (NCA)’s sports science and sports medicine unit preferred surgery on his lower back has touched off a debate on whether the key batter was going the Jasprit Bumrah way.
Bumrah, India’s pace spearhead, had delayed the surgery option for quite some time, preferring rest and rehab, before being forced to go under the scalpel in New Zealand earlier this month, putting in doubt his participation in the ODI World Cup at home.
Iyer missed the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the ODI series following a sudden recurrence of back pain during the third Test. He is currently in Mumbai under the supervision of the NCA’s medical unit.
It remains to be seen if Iyer, the Kolkata Knight Riders captain, can take part in the IPL. The Knights are hopeful that he will be available at some stage, at least after the first leg of the tournament. Their batting looks thin, in terms of home-grown experience and quality, in the absence of Iyer.
It is understood that Iyer is waiting for the pain to subside before commencing strength and conditioning exercises and deciding on the next course of action. If there’s no pain or stiffness, he could be back in action for KKR.
The question, however, remains: Would he be better off putting country ahead of franchise by skipping the IPL and making himself available for the World Test Championship final if rest and rehab help him to regain fitness?
But will the BCCI step in to monitor the workload of such key players? At its review meeting with the Team India management, the BCCI had said that the NCA “will work in tandem with the IPL franchises to monitor the targeted Indian players participating in the IPL 2023”.
Rohit Sharma on Wednesday raised doubts on whether a player would actually pull out of the IPL or take a break because of injuries. The India captain has said that it is “up to the franchises” to keep a tab on the players’ workload.
“It’s all up to the franchise now. Franchises own them now. We’ve given them some indications or some kind of borderline kind of things to teams. But at the end of the day, it’s up to the franchises and most importantly it’s the players. They have to take care of their own body. They are all adults. So they have to look after their body and adjust if they feel like it’s getting a little too much, they can always talk about it and have a break in 1-2 games. I doubt that’ll happen but...” said Rohit.
“Look, it is concerning because if the players are not available... And we are missing players who are actually from the playing XI. Honestly, everyone is trying their best to get everyone in the park. We’ve been focusing a lot on management of the players... which is why you keep seeing, we have to rest certain players at certain points of time.”