Virat Kohli: “Either they stay the whole tour or we come back for 25 days as well.” © AFP
Virat Kohli has expressed displeasure at the Christmas break England’s players will have between the Tests and the limited-overs series in India. Kohli also asked for an eight-day gap between Tests on India’s away tours in the future, and did not sound happy that England, under pressure, were getting time to recuperate between the third and fourth Tests.
“We didn’t ask for the gap, it was part of the schedule,” Kohli said, when asked if the eight-day gap had helped the team after three back-to-back Tests. “Make sure when we go there, we also have eight days’ gap after three Tests and a 25-day gap between ODIs and Tests. We didn’t ask for it, but seeing the long season ahead, it did us no harm. It actually helped us rest a bit, reflect on what we have done in the two games that we have won, and visualise again and come back even more fresh compared to the last two Test matches.
On India’s previous tour of England, they had a five-day gap between the second and third Test, and six days between the third and fourth. The first two and the last two Tests were back-to-back, though a three-day finish in the fourth Test gave them a bigger break before the fifth.
Kohli’s larger objection, though, was to the 25-day gap between the last Test and the first ODI on England’s tour of India. It has been a practice for England to go home for Christmas and return for shorter formats when touring India. Kohli felt it gave them an advantage, one India did not have during their tours.
“Absolutely [England should not go home for the break],” Kohli said. “Or we should come back for a month as well from England. No point we play there for three-and-a-half months and everything we do is in the media’s eyes, even our off time is scanned. I don’t have any news of them enjoying their holiday in Dubai at all. I would like to see the same thing happen. Either they stay the whole tour or we come back for 25 days as well.”
India’s tour of England in 2014 spanned 74 days from their first tour game to the only Twenty20 international. India were away for four months in 2014-15, when they toured Australia for Tests, a tri-nation ODI tournament and the World Cup. Due to Phillip Hughes’ death just before the Tests, the schedule had to be rearranged. India were accommodating in those circumstances: they played practically four back-to-back Tests, and got about a week off between the tri-series and the World Cup.
No schedule is drawn up without the agreement of the BCCI, so this might be one for the bosses in Indian cricket.
Kohli saw the merit of a break. “Very important, even when you go home during the break,” he said. “Honestly, between series, you can’t completely switch off because it will always be there on your mind as to what you have to do in a match. As a captain, you will keep thinking about the combinations you can play, how will be the wicket … But not too much also. It’s important that you enjoy life beyond your profession.
“A lot of times in our country, we look at these things differently, that you have to keep thinking about cricket. But it’s up to you as an individual to weigh how much stress you can take, how much time you want away from cricket, and when do I have to refocus on the game.”
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo