Starting March 12, 2010, the IPL became the focus of the cricket-loving public. On March 26th, the BCCI declared the list of players for the T20 World Cup due to start in the Caribbean on April 30th. As usual, there was furore over some omissions and inclusions. It died down and the spotlight shifted back to the IPL. Then, rumours of scandals hit the IPL. In the midst of this hullabaloo, cricket lovers were all set to enjoy the semi-finals, when the bombshell dropped. The BCCI declared that Virender Sehwag was ruled out of the T20 World Cup as he was suffering from a shoulder injury which would take 3 to 4 weeks to heal.
Every avid Indian cricket fan would surely have been stunned. It was almost déjà vu. Remember, the Sultan of Multan didn’t play in the last World Cup either, but the script then was slightly different. He had gone to England and come back without playing a single match thanks to a shoulder injury which was declared late. He subsequently underwent surgery. Captain Dhoni made a statement on how players should not hide injuries, obviously hinting at Sehwag. There was also a rift between the team management and the media on the issue of Sehwag’s injury. India lost all the Super 8 matches in the tournament.
Coming back to this year’s injury, nobody has any details as to how and when he sustained the injury and what is its nature? He had been declared fit when the squad had been announced. So it must have been caused in the course of the IPL matches. Sehwag played a total of 14 matches for the Delhi Daredevils and scored a total of 356 runs with an average of 25.42 and a strike rate of 163.3. But he has not looked comfortable in his game. He either sustained this injury in the last game where Delhi Daredevils played against the Deccan Chargers or the 14 matches he played in the IPL may have proved to be a strain to his injury-prone shoulder.
This leads us back to the old issue of our cricketers being overworked. Playing in the IPL may cost the Indian team its best players. It is true enough that the players can opt out of any tournament but how can one expect a cricketer to choose between the lucre of playing in the IPL and the prestige of being a member of the Indian team? And what about the other tournaments held back to back with almost no chance of rest and recuperation. Will any player sit out and risk losing his place in the team? The BCCI should mull over this matter and fix schedules in a manner which benefits the players. Since this issue dogs cricketers all over, maybe the ICC also should get involved.
The unavailability of the ‘Wisden Cricketer of the year’ for the T20 World Cup will have at least 2 men very worried- coach Gary Kirsten and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Let Sehwag’s injury be a clarion call to the BCCI to resolve the problem of packed cricketing schedules.
Author: Pratibha Shenoy (Bangalore)