Rohit Sharma has stated that the months-long tours take a toll on the physicality of the players and the team would ideally prefer one format at a time. South African all-rounder JP Duminy, however, believes that Indian players are accustomed to it and will give a tough fight in the upcoming series.
India’s ODI series begins just four days after the gruelling three-match Test series, where India managed to salvage some pride by winning in Johannesburg after conceding the series in the first two matches. And the prospect of India’s cramped schedule and packed calendar compared to other overseas teams has come into the light once again.
India’s two-month-long tour in South Africa will be followed up by a 78-day tour to Ireland and England and given that the all-important World Cup is coming up next year, players would hardly think of giving matches a leave. However, Rohit thinks that the squad, like many other teams, should play one format at a time as the lengthy tours do affect players’ bodies.
“See, yes, there have been talks about going and playing just one format and then going back home. But for India, it's never been like that. India has always played the whole series whenever we've gone abroad. And, yes, it tends to take a lot out of your body more than anything else,” said Rohit Sharma as quoted by Cricbuzz.
India’s playing schedule was a hotly debated topic in the media a month back in December when Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Ravi Shastri took it up with the Committee of Administrators (CoA). While there have been talks of reducing the number of playing days, nothing seems to happen in the immediate future.
“… It's different for the overseas teams… They come to India, they play just one format, they go back, get refreshed and come back. Again it completely depends on BCCI, what happens there and what are the talks. But, ideally, we would prefer to just play one format. Go back, refresh, get some time to yourself, think about what you need to do and come back and play another format,” said Sharma.
“But we're used to it now, doesn't matter. In a way, it can be good, like you can continue the momentum. Not if you are losing the series, but if you are winning, you'd like to continue as much as possible. We're players, we have to do what comes from the top," he added.
The last time India visited England and Australia, they were away for 74 days and four months (because of the World Cup) respectively. South Africa all-rounder JP Duminy has however stated that the Indian players are quite acquainted with the lengthy tours now and will be having a point to prove after the Test series loss.
“I think they've accustomed themselves to touring for long periods of time. Every player who plays for a national team prides himself on personal performance. So, you'll find that guys will - no doubt - perform in this series and will have a point to prove after losing the Test series. So, as I said, it's going to be hard fought and I'm sure everybody will want to stand up and hopefully want to get counted," he said.