By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Workload management has allowed India depth in bowling and has kept pace bowlers ready whenever they’ve been called upon to play Test cricket.
When Shardul Thakur was injured after the first Test, India did not panic and called upon Ishant Sharma to the playing XI for the second Test. Ishant performed. India also had another experienced pacer Umesh Yadav on the bench.
“Workload management is helping us. It is very crucial, which we have been doing for the past few years since the A setup started. That became a big challenge. Over a period, we collected a bit of data. [Through it] we were able to identify a time or a month or a week — if there was a spike [in workload]. Was there a spike in the number of deliveries a bowler bowled? We were able to collect data and decide this was the time we wanted to pull someone off,” said Paras Mhambrey, who is working as bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and was bowling coach with the Indian limited-overs team that toured Sri Lanka for a bilateral series in July.
Rahuld Dravid, who is director of cricket at NCA, was the head coach on that tour.
Mhambrey explained by using the example of Siraj, who was picking wickets regularly in 2018 and was therefore an integral part of the India A setup.
“We did this a couple of years back when Siraj had picked 60-70 wickets for the A (India A team). He had a fabulous year with us. Definitely, the workload had gone up. Everyone was apprehensive — like we can’t push him so much even though he was winning games. In the player’s interest, it was decided that we give him a break. In one of the series, in one of the games, we gave him a break,” added Mhambrey.
Data and its monitoring remains the key to keeping track of how the bowlers are performing and faring.
“We look at all the data. It is totally in sync with the strength & conditioning (S&C) department. Everything is monitored with coaches, physios etc. Eveything is fed — about what the training was with the particular individual at the NCA. How long he is going to be here, what is the training, is he here for rehab, is he here for skill development. You keep feeding all this information and if the S&C department or the physios feel that there is niggle or something, then it is highlighted to the coaches and then it moves to [NCA director of cricket] Rahul [Dravid]. And then we sit together and decide what line of action we have to take. Like, if we want to give them a break. Certain decision is taken. So, in that sense it is showing results,” added the former India pace bowler who played 91 first-class over 10 seasons. He also played two Tests and three ODIs.
“Then Rahul speaks to the concerned authorities and BCCI, officials and everyone is kept in sync,” added the former right-arm pacer from Mumbai.
There is a line of communication with the senior Indian team management led by head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli.
“It is important to have communication lines. At NCA, we work with the senior [India team] management. In terms of what their requirements are, they are conveyed to Rahul, then it trickles down.
“In case someone else is injured, you have a couple of them waiting in the wings, and they are equally good to win the games for the country,” he added.
Mhambrey also complimented the Indian team management for keeping bowlers fit and ready to go.
“Injuries will come and go. They (Ravi Shastri and Bharat Arun) are in sync with S&C department and the trainers.
“When Ishant was here. There was lot of communication on what they require from Ishant. The timelines are decided here. So you need to work accordingly. Eventually, you want to create a team which is a world class team, which you want to dominate world cricket. Every individual out there is up there and the NCA plays a part.”