New Delhi: As the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets bigger every year, players are finding it tough to cope with the hectic schedule of the cash-rich Twenty20 league. Defending champions Chennai Super Kings have played five games in 10 days since the league started April 4. Cris-crossing the country has taken a toll on the Chennai players as they have lost three out of the five games so far. CSK allrounder Albie Morkel admitted in an interview to IANS that the hectic schedule had taken a toll on their mind and body.
CSK played a night game in Delhi, April 10, and took the field against Royal Challengers Bangalore in an afternoon match April 12 in the hot and humid Chennai. "It is quite challenging, especially the travelling part. If you don't play at home, you just travel and train. I hope they could have organised in such a way that we don't have to play a lot of back-to-games. One way of doing that is that they can make the make the tournament longer. Back-to-match matches are really tough on the body," Morkel said.
CSK opener Faf du Plessis concurred with Morkel and said that the organisers could find a way of streamlining the format in the future.
The travelling aspect of the IPL is taxing, say Albie Morkel, Faf du Plessis and Dale Steyn in unison.
"You literally practice, play and fly. It is tough even though we are international cricketers. But at the same time, there is not much you can do when there are nine teams around and you got to play them home and away," Du Plessis said.
Du Plessis said the schedule of the domestic T20 tournament in South Africa is more relaxed than the IPL. "It is more relaxed out there [at home]. We play 10 games and here [India] it is a lot of flying. You get time there," he said. South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn, however, feels that nothing much can be done with the tournament as there is no official window for it in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP).
"There is nothing much you can do about the duration. You got to play a lot of matches and there is limited time. So I think the organisers are doing a fair job as of now. It can't be an issue for us as we are used to the travelling," the Deccan Chargers fast bowler said.
The IPL has grown since its inception in 2008. The first two editions, played with eight teams, had 59 matches each while the third edition was extended by a match to 60. The fourth edition, when the league was expanded to 10 teams, had 74 matches and IPL-V, with nine teams, has been extended to 76 matches.