May 29, 2011

Cricket

It is the player's choice

Tariq Engineer

Gautam Gambhir’s injury and late exclusion from the ODI team to the Caribbean, a team he was going to captain, has led to much hand wringing over players choosing to play in the IPL at the expense of international cricket. An editorial in the Indian Express defends Gambhir’s decision, and says more players will be forced to make these kinds of choices as the cricket calendar fills up.

As the cricket calendar gets ever more packed — and the BCCI is responsible for scheduling both the IPL and international series — players will be forced to take calls with more stark choices than the injured Gambhir has. And it’s not just about the money. Top sportspersons seek the best stages, those that are the most competitive, to establish their dominance. When in pursuit of longevity as competitors they pass some tournaments, the decision should be seen for its rationale — for an athlete’s choices define her greatness — and not as a pretext to pass judgment.

In the same paper, Nihal Koshie warns that Suresh Raina could be the next casualty of all the non-stop cricketing action

Since the start of the last edition of the IPL, Raina has been on the road constantly. He's boarded an estimated 72 flights in between featuring in 109 match days, including Tests, ODIs, T20 Internationals, IPL and the Champions League.

He is one of the fittest players in international cricket, but it is a miracle that he hasn't broken down over the past 12 months. It remains a wonder how Raina has escaped being a causality of the non-stop cricket circus, quite like the man he is replacing as skipper for the T20 and ODIs in the West Indies -Gautam Gambhir.

Tariq Engineer is a former senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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