Rohit Sharma feels IPL will help players hit the ground running at World Cup

India

With the World Cup starting on May 30, 18 days after the IPL final, workload management has been a major talking point throughout the season. Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma reckons that the demands of the IPL will help players build towards the showpiece event in England and Wales, rather than lead to burnout.

Rohit cited the example of India winning the Champions Trophy in June 2013, about ten days after the end of the IPL that year. Rohit was in top form across both tournaments following up his 538 runs in 19 innings for Mumbai Indians in their maiden run to the IPL title with 177 runs in five innings, helping India secure the Champions Trophy as well.

“Once the IPL started we knew this was the window – March and April or April and May – because of the elections,” Rohit said. “In 2013, we played the IPL and went on to play the Champions Trophy and in fact we went on to win the Champions Trophy. I feel the guys who play IPL and go play big tournaments right after that, they’re very much in touch with their game.”

Rohit also said that Mumbai were open to resting key India players – fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, who had just recovered from a back injury ahead of the IPL, at various points during the league – but the players opted against it and were instead keen to keep playing.

Bumrah and Hardik are among six players to have featured in all of Mumbai’s 15 games so far this season. While Bumrah is their leading wicket-taker with 17 wickets in 15 matches at an economy rate of 6.84, Hardik found form – both with bat and ball – after being sidelined from the India side with multiple injuries and off-field troubles.

Hardik had missed India’s most recent ODI series against Australia, but hit the ground running this IPL. He has been Mumbai’s premier death-overs hitter, making 386 runs in 14 innings at a strike rate of 193. And he has smashed 28 sixes – only Kolkata Knight Riders’ Andre Russell (52) and Kings XI Punjab’s Chris Gayle (34) have hit more sixes this season. He has elevated his batting to an all-new plane, so much so that he can hit yorkers – or near-yorkers – for sixers by deploying the helicopter shot.

Hardik has also been at it with the ball and in the field, claiming 14 wickets and taking 11 catches.

“We spoke at the start of the tournament that we will assess each one of players, see where they are at and what they feel about their bodies,” Rohit said. “It’s more an individual thing than we decide for them.

“In the case of Jasprit [Bumrah], he’s someone who likes to play games to make sure he’s in good rhythm. At the start of the tournament we spoke at any given stage that if he feels he needs to rest, we were open to that. But our physios and trainers have monitored him quite well and there was constant feedback from Jasprit as well about he’s feeling. So far, we haven’t had issues with Jasprit and Hardik [Pandya], so we continued to play them.

“Before the IPL if they weren’t in great form, this is the time they can get back to form. Hardik is the best example. Before the IPL, he didn’t have a good time, was injured, and missed a few games as well. But he has been tremendous for us – both in batting and bowling. So, yeah it’s [IPL’s] a big tournament and you can judge yourself where you’re at before a big tournament like the World Cup.”

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