Harbhajan Singh cautions star India players, feels the need to take care before the World Cup
The Indian team will finish its international assignments with the Australia ODI series.
Updated - Mar 11, 2019 3:10 pm
The Indian team will complete their international assignment in Delhi with the last ODI against Australia scheduled to be played at Delhi on March 13. After this, the whole of India will be gripped with the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 fever. Meanwhile, the ICC World Cup will begin on 30th May in England.
India recently lost the Mohali ODI match by 4 wickets, chasing 359 to win, as Peter Handscomb’s century, Khawaja’s 91 and Ashton Turner’s onslaught of 84* deflated the Indian team who had scored 358/9 with Dhawan making 143 and Rohit Sharma scoring a sublime 95 runs.
IPL and concerns over fitness of players
The 2019 edition of the IPL will begin on March 23 and the eight franchises will battle it out for the opportunity of winning the most popular T20 league in the world. The BCCI has released the schedule for the first two weeks of the tournament, as the rest of the schedule will depend on the dates of general elections that are scheduled to happen in April-May all over India.
Another concern for the BCCI is the fitness and workload management of its international players during the IPL. Almost all the franchises include Indian players who will travel to England and Wales for the 2019 ICC World Cup. Big names like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and fast bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are scheduled to play major roles for their respective teams in the T20 league.
The BCCI has been working with the support staff and the management of IPL franchises in order to take care of the workload of World Cup-bound players. However, it remains to be seen how the franchises utilize their players in the tournament and how they manage their workload.
2011 ICC World Cup winner Harbhajan Singh feels that Virat Kohli’s men will go into the ICC mega event with high confidence given their performance over the last few years. The Indian team is ranked no.2 in ODIs and is considered to be one of the main favourites to win the tournament.
“World Cup is still very far. We will have to wait and watch what happens. But this is a kind of a team which can lift any major championship. World Cup or any big tournament, – they can definitely win. They have the team (for it)”, Harbhajan was quoted as saying on Sportstar.
However, the off-spinner cautioned the players to stay fit throughout the IPL and be ready for the upcoming World Cup. He said since IPL will feature many games in a short span of time, the fitness of the players will be tested and injuries might happen, which could hamper India’s chances in the World Cup. He mentioned Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma as some of the key players who needed to keep themselves fit and fresh.
“You don’t want your key players to get injured someone like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah you don’t want them to miss the World Cup because of injuries or niggles. You want them to be on their best of form and (play) best of cricket,” Bhajji added.
“Looking at his (Virat’s) form, from the last four-to-five years, he has hit that purple patch and he is definitely one of those toughest batsmen that you will come across as a bowler. Every batsman has a weak point where to bowl at and, at the moment, we don’t see that with Virat Kohli,” he further mentioned.