Arguably one of the fittest players in world cricket at the moment, heavy workload and fatigue issues are forcing the Indian skipper Virat Kohli into seeking an early retirement from one of the three formats of the game.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is gearing himself for ‘‘rigorous three years’’ in all three formats of the game post which he will be reassessing his ‘workload’ to decide on his future.
Ahead of the first match of the Test series between India and New Zealand in Wellington, the Indian captain has contemplated retiring from one of the formats of the game post the 2023 World Cup.
Heads Up! Is Virat Kohli planning an early retirement?
- Will heavy workload force the Indian skipper into an early retirement?
- Will Virat Kohli retire from some formats post 2023 World Cup?
- Heavy workload has led to several Indian players getting injured recently.
- Kohli wants to help the team get into a smooth transition.
Hectic cricket calendar
With a packed calendar and heavy amount of cricket being played in recent years, ‘workload’ has been a serious matter of concern among the cricketers and team management. The frequent injuries to the players is a vivid indication of the heavy workload that the players are undergoing.
Apart from Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson is the only cricketer to lead his team in all three formats of the game. Both of them also lead their IPL sides. Hectic schedules do take a toll on the body. Hence, the question of workload on such players seems quite valid.
Virat Kohli’s mind on the ‘bigger picture’
To manage workload, players worldwide have given up one of the three formats of the game to prolong their careers.
However, the Indian captain is in no mood to do anything of this sort for the next 3 years at least.
“My mindset is on the bigger picture as I prepare myself for a rigorous three years from now and after that, we might have a different conversation.” – Virat Kohli when asked if he was planning to give up one of the three formats to manage his workload
Thoughts of giving up one of the formats
Undoubtedly one of the fittest players in the world cricket, Virat Kohli himself admits that heavy workload does make him think of giving up a format and it’s something that he can’t hide from.
“It is around eight years now that I have been playing 300 days a year, which includes travelling and practice sessions. And intensity is right up there all the time. It does take a toll on you.” – Virat on heavy workload
The skipper didn’t have any second thought to the fact that workload management and player fatigue as issues need to be talked about more often.
In December 2014, former Indian captain MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket. He wanted to channelize his energies on his preferred white ball format. Similarly, it shouldn’t come as a shock to fans if Virat Kohli re-formats MS Dhoni’s retirement strategy. Virat might hang his boots from T20I cricket to focus more on the other two formats.
Periodic breaks working fine for Virat Kohli
Senior players like Rohit Sharma along with Virat Kohli, who play all three formats of the game, have been taking periodic breaks by resting in few home series. And that seems to be working well form them at the moment.
Kohli said, “It’s not easy being captain, having that intensity in the practice sessions. It does take a toll on you. Periodic breaks seem to work pretty okay for me.”
Virat wants to help the team in transition
Being a captain, Virat Kohli understands that the team needs his experience going into the 2023 World Cup. He also believes that the senior players like himself and Rohit will need to help the team get into a smooth transition.
“I can keep going on with the same intensity (for next 3 years) and also understand that the team wants a lot of my contribution in the next two to three years, so that I can ease into another transition that we faced five-six years ago.” – Kohli on helping the team get into a smooth transition
Retirement from T20I cricket
Virat Kohli has often admitted that Test cricket is the most revered format for him. He has been active in voicing his words in support of the oldest format of the game. Barring a lone Test match against Afghanistan in Bangalore, Virat hasn’t missed a single Test series that the Indian team has played. His intensity has been right up there.
However, to recuperate and give his body the needed rest he has often taken a sabbatical from few T20I series that the team played. In addition to this, Rohit Sharma’s captaincy in these series has been quite outstanding.
So, Virat Kohli’s retirement from T20I after 2021 T20 World Cup shouldn’t come as a surprise. With the World Test Championship (WTC) and ODI World Cup in sight, this will allow him to focus a lot more on Test and ODI cricket.