Team India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that the ‘forced break’ due to the outbreak of COVID-19 comes as a much-needed rest for the Indian cricketers. The Indian team hosted Sri Lanka and Australia for limited-overs series in January before touring New Zealand in the same month.
The side returned from New Zealand early in March and hosted South Africa for a three-match ODI series. However, the series was called-off due to the outbreak of the disease.
Talking to Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Rob Key for the Sky Sports podcast, Shastri said, “[This rest] cannot be a bad thing because towards the end of the New Zealand tour, you could see some cracks coming up when it came to mental fatigue, physical fitness and injuries.”
“The amount of cricket we have played over the last ten months, that was beginning to take its toll. Guys like me, and some other guys from the support staff, we left India on May 23 for the World Cup in England. Since then we have been at home for 10 or 11 days.”
The Indian head coach said that the team had realised the situation would turn for the worse after the second ODI against South Africa was called off.
“It came as a shock but to be honest, having been on the road during the South Africa series, we guys anticipated it,” Shastri said.
“We knew something was on the cards as the disease had just started spreading. When the second ODI was called off, we knew something was gonna happen and a lockdown was imminent.”
He also added that players had sensed it coming in New Zealand itself.
“I think the players knew it was coming, they sensed it in New Zealand. There were apprehensions towards the end of that tour, when flights were coming through Singapore, out of Singapore. By the time we landed [in India], I thought we got out at just the right time. There were only two cases in New Zealand at that time, that has rocketed now to 300. The day we landed, that was the first day they were screening and testing people at the airport. So [we came back] just in the nick of the time,” said Shastri.