The majority of people think that there is nothing like a cricketer’s life. There’s stardom that even movie stars would get jealous of, there’s money flowing, endorsements being signed and a lot of attention and love from everywhere possible. The idea of remaining under the spotlight seems like a prospect that excites everybody.
However, these are just half-truths and half-truths can be deceiving. If you look at a cricketer’s schedule and the number of playing days in a year after adjusting to all the international matches and T20 leagues that they play, a cricketer’s life will scare you like anything.
The transition has become even more difficult ever since covid kicked in. Playing in bio bubbles and losing whatever normalcy they had with life, the players’ life has become even more stressful. For the past two years, you might have heard stories or news about some big players resting themselves from a big series or tournament citing ‘mental health’ or ‘fatigue’ as reasons.
But the schedule doesn’t care and the matches keep happening even then as the show must go on. Well, the show goes on, but the cricketers don’t live forever, they aren’t machines, are they? From one bio bubble to the other, one country to the other, one format to the other, one opposition to the other, one series to the other, from one mental jail to the other – the show just goes on and on.
The Big Talking Point: Ben Stokes’ Retirement
He has been one of the most influential cricketers in the past decade. Yes, he did have his fair share of struggles but he also had some great highs and victories. The Headingley Test and The World Cup Finals will forever be remembered as ‘Ben Stokes Special Games’.
He was even appointed England’s Test Captain. Something that will always be special for him. At the start of the summer, England played tests against New Zealand while the ODI set-up was busy playing another series. And then India Series happened after which they were to play South Africa at home. The cricket schedule was too jam-packed. Ben Stokes did not even feature in the IPL as he needed mental rest and wanted to focus on the upcoming test series.
And yet when England was about to play the 2nd ODI, he announced that this would be his last ODI as a player for England citing fatigue and mental health issues and that he wanted to focus on Test Cricket and T20s.
For a player who is one of the best all-rounders of the game, a proven champion and someone who has been doing well consistently for the better part of a decade, this came as shocking news.
But with the multi-format thing becoming an issue and teams now having 2-3 types of teams for all formats and all types of series, players who play all three formats will soon be forced to choose – either out of compulsion or out of mental health or fatigue reasons. And this honestly is a great loss for cricket.
Hardik Pandya And Many Other Cricketers To Follow In This Direction?
According to the Indian team’s ex-coach Ravi Shastri, Hardik Pandya too might follow in a similar direction as he wants to make play longer and have a good career and focus on one or at the max two formats of the game. Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson have had outstanding Test careers and they too have been playing only a single format for a year. Many other cricketers around the world are also believed to be opting for that option soon. So if this is a sign of things to come, maybe changing the schedule and making it more player friendly might be the only way if we don’t want to lose gems like Ben Stokes from opting out of certain formats.
Let us know what you think about the same in the comments below.