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Warhorse Dhoni looks ready for more battles ahead

Posted March 5th, 2019, 10:07 AM IST

Warhorse Dhoni looks ready for more battles ahead

India’s win against Australia in the first ODI on a sluggish pitch at Hyderabad must have removed the doubts, however minor, in the minds of captain Virat Kohli and the team management about the Indian mindset after losing the T20 series.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s resolute innings, when the chips were down, not just sent a riposte to those who have been hankering for his retirement or non-inclusion but also proved that the 38-year-old warhorse was still ready for more battles ahead.

With the World Cup looming large, the team management will be pressed hard with the task of rotating players in the remaining four ODIs. The BCCI had wisely rested a few key players for the ODI and T20 series in Australia and New Zealand. Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah look fresh now. Going by reports, the BCCI have been in a dialogue with the IPL franchises to figure out how they will lessen the burden on the World Cup prospects. The IPL is an extremely taxing tournament, from a physical and mental point of view.

Each team will have to play, at least, 14 matches and a few more if they make it to the playoffs.

The constant pressure of performing coupled with the hectic travel schedule is bound to squeeze the

players and leave them exhausted mentally and physically.

With the team scheduled to leave for the United Kingdom in May, the team management will be crossing their fingers that no one is injured and left behind. Skipper Kohli has gone on record to state that performances in the IPL will have no bearing on the selection of the Cup team. That having said, players will need to be very careful to maintain their fitness if they wish to participate in the most important ICC tournament.

There have been instances, in the past, of players hiding their injuries and carrying them while on national duty. The BCCI officials need to be vigilant and ensure that this does not happen especially when the team is picked for the Cup.

Will franchises agree to lessen the burden on their star players in the interest of India’s Cup campaign remains to be seen. It may just be possible that BCCI may issue a diktat on the use of players in the IPL as they had done, for those who played the Ranji Trophy, before India’s tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Players such as Bumrah, Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who have been prone to injuries, will need to be constantly monitored to ensure they are fit and fresh before they board the flight to Old Blighty. Not to forget Dhoni who will have the pressure of captaining Chennai Super Kings, the defending champions.

The old monk of Indian cricket will be mandated to do a minimum of 120 and 300 squats per game in the IPL and the remaining ODIs that he plays.

The timing of the IPL, preceding the Cup will also have players switching from the 50-over ODI format to T20 and back to one-dayers. West Indian legend Chris Gayle recently commented how difficult it was for him to get his body accustomed to 50-over cricket after constantly playing the 20-over version across the globe.