THERE IS likely to be a cap on how much contracted Indian bowlers can bowl in the nets during IPL XI. It’s a clause that the BCCI is working on introducing in a bid to monitor and curtail the workload of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and R Ashwin among others in the contract list. The clause, if agreed upon, will have to be included in the contracts that these players have already signed with their respective IPL franchises. It will be in the lines of the ones that foreign players are learnt to have in place with the franchises.
The Indian Express understands that every foreign board that provides NoCs for its players to come play in the IPL have an agreement with the BCCI which states that they won’t be “over-worked” to avoid burnout. To the extent that if a bowler is made to bowl even a single over more than the figure agreed upon as per the clause then the respective board can recall him on the condition of being “overworked”. It’s a similarly precautionary measure that the Indian board wants to put in place for its own players to ensure that their bodies don’t have to take an incessantly additional load, especially since the IPL is also played during the two hottest months of the year in India.
“The board will soon have a clause where a contracted bowler with the BCCI will have limitations on how much he can bowl in the nets. The respective franchises will be informed once the proper paperwork is completed. The paper is yet to be formalised as the board will be looking at adding it as an additional clause in the contracts between players and franchises. It’s a move that has being considered to protect our players from burnout. They are anyway coming off a heavy workload while playing for India and with a hectic calendar ahead,” a top BCCI official said.
Though a bowler doesn’t necessarily end up bowling more than 12 overs a week in a match scenario—in terms of no franchise playing more than three matches a week—the constant travel and the scheduling can take a toll on them.
And the likes of Bumrah and Kumar were rested from the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka after both had played integral roles across all three formats on the tour of South Africa. Bumrah had bowled a total of 162.1 overs in less than two months, which included his maiden Test series, and he’ll be Mumbai Indians’ key fast bowler like he’s been for the last few years in the 2018 edition of the IPL starting April 7.
“Our primary goal is to monitor his workload very carefully with so much international cricket ahead. We need to be careful that he is not over-used,” chief selector MSK Prasad had said recently to PTI. “For each and every fast bowler, the balance of workload is very important and the high performance team will be monitoring it closely,” he’d added.
Captain Virat Kohli who skipped the two-week tour to Sri Lanka himself admitted to the “workload disagreeing” with him in Mumbai at a promotional event on Tuesday.
“Physically, I had a few niggles, I am just getting over those. The workload has started to disagree with me a little bit. I have to be very careful about how I go forward with my body, my mind, my cricket. Times like these are very, very important. I am totally enjoying it; I do not even have an inch of me missing out on anything because my body really needed this,” Kohli said. The fast bowlers in particular will agree completely with their skipper.
Monitoring U-19 pacers: Dravid
Meanwhile, under-19 coach Rahul Dravid has informed the BCCI about monitoring the workload of the pacers who won India the World Cup last month. His concerns are based on the many instances in the past where junior pacers break down while dealing with the rigours of domestic cricket, some of whom never quite return to the scene. Like in teh case of Rahul Batham, who was part of the World Cup squad in 2016, and has since battled two back surgeries and is yet to make it to the senior Madhya Pradesh squad.
Dravid is learnt to have told the BCCI to let the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru keep a track of the young pacers’ progress.
“Dravid has informed the BCCI that NCA should monitor these under 19 boys’ progress as they will be going to play for their respective states. Like in England and Australia, the board should also have follow-up procedures in place for players who did well during the under-19 tournaments,” the source added.