IPL before Aus-Ind series not ideal, led to injuries: Langer

The timing of the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was not ideal, said Australia head coach Justin Langer on Wednesday as he blamed the cash-rich T20 tournament for soft-tissue injuries to the players.

The 13th edition of IPL was played from September 19 to November 10 last year behind closed doors in the United Arab Emirates due to the Covid-19 pandemic while India’s tour of Australia began with the first ODI of the three-match series on November 27.

“I have said that this is going to be the survival of the fittest this summer. It is really interesting how many injuries there have been throughout this summer. We suffered through the white-ball series and through the Test…I can’t help but think that the IPL this year probably wasn’t ideal timing for anyone, certainly for such a big series like this,” said Langer while speaking to media-persons in a virtual interaction ahead of the fourth Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Australia missed David Warner for one ODI, three T20Is and the first two Tests due to a groin injury he sustained during the second one-dayer against India. Warner was not 100 per cent even in the third Test he played.

India, on the other hand, have had plenty of injury worries. While they are fretting over Jasprit Bumrah, who has an abdominal muscle tear, Ravindra Jadeja (before the broken thumb he had a suspected hamstring strain and concussion ahead of first Test) and Ravichandran Ashwin (back) have also faced injury woes.

Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar did not make it to Australia as they were recovering from injuries sustained during IPL whereas Rohit Sharma missed the entire white-ball series as well as the first two Tests as he too was recuperating from hamstring injury sustained in the IPL. Wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha managed to get fit in the nick of time.

“I love the IPL. I look at the IPL now as I used to look at the county cricket for our young players. Guys who play county cricket, it helps them in their cricket development enormously. I think it is the same with IPL with our players. It helps their white-ball cricket development. But the timing of it, because of what happened with Covid-19, probably wasn’t ideal. I just wonder if that is having an impact on the injuries that we are seeing in both teams throughout the summer.”

Langer said that the Australian team management will look to review this ahead of future series.

“I am sure we will review that. Cricket Australia is on it…we have said after the one-day series that we should review it. When you have a trend of having more injuries than usual, then of course you are going to review it,” said the Australia head coach.

“A lot of these things, you can say are one-off incidents. When it becomes a trend I mean India and Australia had more injuries. (Mohammed) Shami broke his arm, Ravi (Ravindra Jadeja) broke his thumb, they are unusual. But the soft tissue injuries is what we will look at. And I would like to say I am sure we will review that like we do with most things, like we review most things post-series,” he added.

The four-match Test series is currently tied at 1-1. The series decider, slated to begin from Friday at The Gabba, will be broadcast on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3 channels.