Women are back on the field after a while. The story has been similar for men. The festival of Indian Premier League kick-started and has taken the cricketing fraternity by storm. While fans have enjoyed the sixes in Sharjah, the franchises and managers have had a hard time managing the fitness of players.
Fans shall recall MS Dhoni coughing in the dry conditions. His successor as Indian Wicket-keeper too suffered an injury. Rishabh Pant’s loss is a big blow to the Delhi Franchise. There are, moreover, innumerable pulls and injuries in the three matches. It has to be understood that the conditions in the UAE are very different from India. The deserted middle-east has an unbearable hot and humid climate. While Indian players are habitual of playing under the scorching sun, the pandemic brought an unprecedented break. Players have returned to the field after a gap of months. Some had no competitive cricket in the year and the pandemic made their future uncertain.
As we move onto Women’s T20 Challenge (Women’s IPL), the concerns are no different. Women, too, have suffered a long break from the field and the conditions of the grounds are of no help either. Cramps due to excessive sweat have troubled team physios. While the players are expected to maintain a professional degree of fitness, the uncertainties of the pandemic are no less to count. The challenge is for managers and the physios to group their players to avoid injuries.
Australia, as fans will recall, had a similar setback in the world cup. The fans, too, will be disappointed if big names miss the tournament. One should also remember that one of the vital aspects of the tournament has to be the competitiveness. Under the lights of men’s IPL, it gets important for Women to bring their best.
Moreover, the players have a bilateral fixture after the tournament. They are also slated to participate in the World Cup soon. Players like Mithali Raj and other veterans will have special attention as any undesired happening will have repercussions for the national side and the aspirations of a world cup as well.
This article was published first in Female Cricket. The views expressed are the author’s own.
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