Workload management has once again taken centre stage as Indian cricketers get into the groove for the Indian Premier League (IPL), followed by the ICC World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval in June.
While the Indian team management has decided to monitor the fitness of all the WTC-bound players featuring in the IPL, captain Rohit Sharma stated earlier this week that the bowlers will be provided with Dukes ball so that they can train for the ICC event, even during the IPL.
But the team’s pace-spearhead Mohammed Shami does not want to think too far ahead. “There’s still time for the WTC final and the ODI World Cup and as a player, it is not possible to think that far ahead. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. You need to be smart in terms of managing your workload. When you play international cricket, you know how much you need to work,” Shami said on Friday, after claiming three wickets to pave the way for India’s five-wicket win against Australia in the first ODI.
“You understand your body well and that’s why you should not think long term. I know my body well and can handle workload, so I am taking it match by match,” he added.
At the Wankhede Stadium, Shami had an impressive second spell, claiming all three wickets. “It felt alright right from the first ball of the second spell. The ball was coming off nicely from the release. We talked about the seam position or off the deck, but the focus was to keep the ball in good areas because they were playing on the backfoot,” he said. “My mindset was to keep the ball a little up with a slip in place, as I had done in the first spell…”
Coming into the game, teams thought it would be a high-scoring affair. But Australia could only manage 188, while India overcame early jitters and rode on a 108-run unbeaten partnership between K.L. Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja to romp home.
“If you see overall, then there have been high-scoring matches as well here. The pitches here have good bounce, the ball comes nicely on the bat too. But if you would have noticed, whenever someone bowls in the right areas, (the course) of matches changes if someone is bowling at good lengths,” Shami said.
“It is all about when you are able to shift the momentum – early or late. That is what we pulled off today, once we got the momentum on our side after the 20th over, we capitalised on it and we were able to stop them at 188.
In pursuit of Australia’s 188, India lost five wickets early on before Rahul stepped up with a half-century. “We talk a lot about pressure, players going out of form or returning to form but a player always tries to play a good innings, make a good start for his team. He (Rahul) has played so many good innings in the past. It happens sometimes that luck doesn’t favour you, or things are not working out well if you are trying to do something,” Shami said.
“The pressure was certainly there, we had lost so many wickets in quick succession but the way he rebuilt, it was very nice to see that one of our players has made runs in a pressure situation…”
The two teams will play the second game of the series at Visakhapatnam on Sunday.