IPL 2023: Should out-of-form Rohit take a break from Mumbai Indians duty?

Rohit has been dismissed for single-digit scores in his last five IPL appearances


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is struggling for his batting form. — AFP
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma is struggling for his batting form. — AFP

Published: Wed 10 May 2023, 6:16 PM

Before the start of the IPL this season, Indian captain Rohit Sharma had expressed his concerns about player burnout.

But little did he imagine that he could have been talking about himself.

Rohit is far from stupid and completely understands the perils of modern cricket’s punishing schedule.

It's a highly demanding cricketing world now where you have players hurtling from one event, and one format, to another in a single calendar year like 2023.

After a relentless two-month-long IPL, India's all-format players will be plunged into the June 7-11 World Test Championship final against Australia in England before they turn their focus to the Asia Cup and the World Cup later this year.

At the end of it, they would have been exposed to all three formats of the game – T20, Test, and ODI, which would do nothing less than shatter the glass ceiling and redefine the role of players in today's cricket.

But given the business side of the game, it's understandable that every cricketer worth his salt wants to be a part of the cash-rich IPL, irrespective of what might occur by way of injury or otherwise.

The franchise’s hype machine is so powerful that players can either commit fully or stay away.

That’s where the downfall starts as Rohit is finding out after being dismissed for single-digit scores in his last five appearances.

Overall, he has aggregated just 191 runs in 11 innings with his highest score of 65 dating back to the very second game Mumbai Indians played.

But here we are talking about one of the India's greatest white-ball batsmen ever who has also eclipsed Virat Kohli as the country's premier Test batsman in the last five years.

His wretched form in the IPL this season, though, has been a matter of serious concern.

With a history of injury issues, it's only natural that many former players are worried about his future in the game.

At 36, Rohit's is clearly in the twilight of his wonderful career.

Even the legendary Sunil Gavaskar has advised him to take a break from the IPL to keep himself fresh.

But does he have a choice?

In franchise cricket, where the rewards are big and failure is not an option, Rohit is mentally and physically challenged, and it's only his passion that keeps him playing in the hope that he rediscovers his glorious touch.

The fresh air that Gavaskar has suggested looks like a good option to avoid complete burnout.

Yet it is an unlikely scenario for a captain who is feeling the pressure of keeping five-time champion Mumbai Indians' reputation, and IPL hopes, alive.

The workload management that the Indian cricket board had confidently spoken of with the help of the National Cricket Academy is not happening given the demands of the business end of the IPL.

Rohit has said that a player is the best judge of his fitness and should prepare, play or rest accordingly.

Being the captain of the Indian team in all three formats, it's imperative that he practises what he preaches.

Rohit will surely have realised that burnout is for real and he must find a way to keep enjoying the sport that has shaped his life, despite the many underlying flaws in the system.


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