India news June 30, 2009

Skip IPL to rest, says former India physio

Cricinfo staff

John Gloster, the former India physio, has suggested that the Indian players skip the IPL ahead of the major ICC tournaments and tours to avoid mental fatigue. Gloster said the players must be feeling the strain of playing away from home for lengthy periods, which puts additional pressure on their family life.

All the Indian players who participated in the five-week IPL in South Africa also played in the ICC World Twenty20 in England shortly afterwards. However, the defending champions couldn't get further than the Super Eights and their coach Gary Kirsten had said fatigue levels and minor injuries from the IPL led to their exit.

"Although the IPL has helped bring an revolution in world cricket, it's still wiser to avoid it if it's close to any important series because it involves too much of travelling and stress," Gloster told the Times of India. "The cricketers who played in the IPL in South Africa may be mentally tired and were not ready for the huge pressure of the ICC World T20. A hectic schedule may rock the family lives of players. Perhaps no other country has as strong family bonds as the Indians."

The BCCI has said in the past that the players have the option of opting out of tours to rest and recuperate but Gloster felt the BCCI should play a more active role in monitoring injuries closely.

"I feel the BCCI should have a medical board because questions of fitness and injury sometimes create confusion, especially if it comes from the team management," Gloster said.

MS Dhoni, the captain, set an example when he skipped the Test leg of the tour of Sri Lanka after being on the road for several months without a break. His decision raised eyebrows but Gloster felt the public should understand the situation from the player's point of view.

"Dhoni is a class cricketer. But sometimes the burden of expectations weigh the players down," he said. "And when they fail to perform, they are criticised from all quarters."

While working with the Indian team, Gloster observed that the players often missed their families and that home sickness is a factor that cannot be ignored.

"I spent much time in India and have an Indian wife. So I know what are the emotional needs of Indians, who have been away from their homes for months," he said. "For a player like Sachin Tendulkar, it's difficult to keep away from the family for longer periods. Sachin loves his family and I believe he is not happy spending much time away from home."