IPL good preparation for India’s bowlers ahead of 2019 Cricket World Cup: MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni feels that India need to keep their players fit.

MS Dhoni does not entirely agree with views that India’s crop of fast bowlers should consider skipping the upcoming IPL, scheduled to start in late March, ahead of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup beginning May 30 in England.

Speaking at an event in Chennai on Friday, Dhoni stated that the IPL could be a good phase to keep India’s bowlers in shape.

“Bowling four overs won’t make you tired. The four overs actually keeps you at your best, you are bowling the yorkers, bowling the variation and playing under pressure,” he said. “I feel the bowlers can still play the whole of the IPL but what they need to manage is what they eat, when they sleep and wake up.

“I would like them to be at their best when it comes to the skill factor. I always felt IPL was the best time to get in shape because I had a lot of time. I was playing only three and a half hours every third day and it gave me time to spend in the gym,” Dhoni said.

Seated next to him, former Test captain Anil Kumble was not as convinced.

“One of the most important parts of preparation will be keeping yourself (players) fresh as there is a lot of cricket coming up from now till the start of the World Cup,” said Kumble, India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests. “Maybe resting some of the top bowlers in a few of the IPL games is an option. Even though franchises might not like that or want to rest them, it has to be considered for India’s sake.”

According to Dhoni, the balance between rest and staying fresh was the key. In 2015, he led India to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with a formidable pace attack featuring Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma.

“Keeping our bowlers injury free is important. If you rest them, the first thing commentators say is they are rusty, and if you make them play, then is he not too fresh. So we have to find that fine balance even though it might be a bit difficult to manage,” said Dhoni.