Asia Cup 2008 June 29, 2008

Players can say if they need rest - BCCI

Cricinfo staff

The BCCI has reacted to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's complaint about the Asia Cup schedule © AFP
Rajiv Shukla, the vice-president of the Indian board, has responded to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's complaint about having to play back-to-back matches in the Asia Cup by saying that the players were aware of the tournament's schedule and that they could have opted out if they needed rest.

"If a player wants rest, he can inform the board and we'll be happy to send replacements," Shukla said. "The schedule of Asia Cup was known well in advance."

Shukla cited the case of Sachin Tendulkar to make his point. "Sachin had informed us well in advance and hence he was not picked." Tendulkar was not selected for the tri-series in Bangladesh as well as the Asia Cup after failing to recover from a groin injury.

The Asian Cricket Council, which organised the tournament, also said that the schedule was known in advance. "After the schedule was finalised, six weeks before the tournament, we had sent the programme to all the concerned boards including India to give us their approval," Ashraful Haque, the ACC chief executive, told PTI.

"The schedule was approved by all the boards, so I don't see any reason of complaining. Tight schedules are part of international cricket now."

Dhoni, after India's seven-wicket win over Bangladesh yesterday, had said: "Back-to-back games make it really tough for the players. I am not really happy with the schedule: two teams are playing back-to-back games, and two teams are not.

"Under these conditions it is really tough, you are playing cricket throughout the year, and then you play back-to-back matches. You could make out from the start that the intensity was not there." India had played two matches in as many days against Hong Kong and Pakistan with a one-day break before their match against Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Indian team spent the day cooling off at a resort 30 kilometres away from Karachi. "We had decided there would be no cricket talk today," Aravind Ganguly, the manager of the Indian team, told PTI. "There was no cricket in our minds as we decided to relax completely."

However, the team will be back in the grind tomorrow. "From tomorrow it will be back to business and preparing for the rest of the tournament." India now have two more days to prepare for back-to-back matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka on July 2 and 3.