When we are done criticising the Indian team for the 2-1 Test series loss against South Africa, it is natural to think why an in-form team failed abruptly. It is then that you realise, that the Test series against South Africa had come after a long home season, which would have definitely taken a punishing toll on the players, leading to a not-so-optimal performance. This fact right here which addresses Team India’s tireless cricketing woes is exactly what the Indian ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma has pointed towards, ahead of India’s six-match ODI series against South Africa.
When South Africa last visited India in 2015, they went for a mid-series break to cool off. Similarly, England visited India during the 2016-17 season, and had gone for a winter break after one format. Going with the same (read sane) logic, the Australians too had broken their tour of India into two parts – the Tests in early 2017 and ODIs in later 2017.
Rohit Sharma suggests a mid-series break to cool off is ideal for Team India
However, with the Indian team, this is not the case. When touring abroad to play multi-format series against overseas teams, India’s whole tour is bunched together in a cluster usually. Rohit Sharma spoke about this very issue during a press conference after Team India’s practice session in Durban, as was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying,
“Ideally, we’d like to have a break in between the Test and ODI series and would like to go home during the period before returning for the second leg.”
“There have been talks about going and playing just one format and then going back home. For India, it’s never been like that. We have always played the whole series whenever we’ve gone abroad. It tends to take a lot out of your body. Ideally, we’d like to go back, refresh, get some time, think about what we need to do and play another format.”
The Test series that recently got over must have a taken a gruelling toll on the Indian players’ mentality, more than their physique, although the damages done to the body by not taking proper rest are equally punishing. It goes without saying that if the team is given a break to relax after a challenging series of a format is over, it can never have a bad effect on the performance.
It is important to perform outside India, says Rohit Sharma
Apart from saving the trouble of making last moment squad changed on short notices, it would help the team sustain a positive frame of mind. Rohit Sharma added,
“More than the technical aspect, it is the mental aspect. You need to tell yourself that the shots you played in Tests and shots you play in ODIs are different. All the guys have been in the situation before, where they have ODI cricket after Test cricket so I don’t think they need to put too much pressure on themselves to change anything. We’re used to it now, doesn’t matter.”
“We want to get those victories away from home. It is always important what you do outside India,” added the India ODI opener.
India’s South African summer tour which saw the men in blue enter with one mindset and leave with another, will remain etched for long in the Indian hearts as an eye opening Test series. Although Team India experienced it’s new highs and lows, it’s too soon to ask for the moral of the story as India’s South Africa chapter is far from over. Next up is the six-match ODI series, the 1st of which will take place at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban.