Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni could be seen sleeping on the floor of the Chennai airport in the early hours of Wednesday, April 9, and he took a sly dig at the Indian Premier League for its tight scheduling.
CSK played Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai last night, April 9, and had to take an early morning flight today to travel to Jaipur where they will take on Rajasthan Royals on April 11. The IPL is synonymous with successive matches for teams with only a gap of one day between the said matches.
KKR's themselves came into the match against CSK with barely any rest as it was their third game in five days. It is now CSK's turn to travel and their captain found it necessary to catch up on some sleep ahead of the early morning flight following a late night game. He posted a picture of him and his wife sleeping on the floor of the airport on Instagram, captioning the picture, "After getting used to IPL timing this is what happens if u have a morning flight"
Dhoni's caption was meant in good humour but one cannot overlook the underlying truth behind it. The IPL is a very demanding tournament because of the intensity of a T20 competition and the scheduling make things even tougher on the players who have to then focus more on avoiding injuries due to tiredness. In the last five days, KKR travelled to Bangalore and subsequently made a trip to Jaipur only to return to Chennai for a match last night.
That is a lot of air time and they had to do all this in five days, playing three matches in the process. This puts the franchises in a dilemma as they have to juggle between practice and recovery in order to avoid stress-related muscle injuries. Compared to KKR, CSK has got a better schedule in their coming matches. Following their trip to Jaipur, they have a gap of two days before travelling to Kolkata to take on yesterday's opponent in the return fixture. The Super Kings will subsequently be travelling to Hyderabad and Bangalore but have been afforded gaps of two days and three days, respectively.
Despite the myriad travails of the IPL, CSK always manages to navigate through to the playoffs and looks set to do so in this edition of the T20 tournament too. The Chennai brigade reclaimed top spot on the points table when they beat table-toppers KKR on a sluggish Chepauk pitch. Asking KKR to bat first, Deepak Chahar combined with the spinners to restrict KKR to 108 and even that score was largely due to the mature heroics of Andre Russell.
In response, CSK cantered home in the 18th over despite losing two wickets in the power play. Opener Faf Du Plessis saw out the game as he batted through the innings till the end.