Kaymo’s Korner: Player management is vital to success

2013-06-18 10:00

The injuries to Dale Steyn and Morné Morkel raise an important question: are players getting the balance right in terms of the amount of cricket they play?

Cricket, like the work we do daily, puts bread on people’s tables. But in cricket, there is the occupational hazard of injuries. Players need to maximise each iota of talent while their bodies allow it.

With the India Premier League (IPL) making further inroads into the already cluttered international season, players are finding themselves in a quandary as to how much cricket they can play, weighing it up against the demands of international cricket.

The IPL is very lucrative and offers much more security than a national contract will ever do. In South Africa’s case, it dovetails nicely with the domestic season, which often ends two to three weeks before the jamboree starts.

The club-versus-country issue may crop up for countries like the West Indies and England, whose domestic and international seasons clash,

but in South Africa the key issue of player management crops up.

Steyn and Morkel played more than half their matches allocated in their respective franchises and it should have come as no surprise when they were injured for the tournament.

Dr Mohammed Moosajee, the Proteas’ team manager, did say that the IPL was not responsible for the player’s injuries but it must have been galling for the coaching staff to watch their star players start at full pelt, only to fade.

The Proteas have played without Morkel and Steyn but with international tournaments looming, player management has to be spot on, without infringing on a cricketer’s right to ply his trade elsewhere.

It’s a fine line to walk but players and managers need to sit down and work out clear plans for the amount of cricket a player can manage.

However, it has given South Africa the opportunity to test their depth, and players have come through admirably.

Personal wealth should not outweigh the desire to represent one’s country, but then national glory alone will not secure one’s future.

Rugby is facing the same problem, with players becoming cogs in a relentlessly grinding machine. The end result is key players dropping like flies at domestic level, with the national team suffering.

Cricket, especially for bowlers, is demanding and players need careful management because they are the lifeblood of the game.

The dice may be loaded against them but cricketers are a successful species, despite their eroding habitat.

» Follow me on Twitter @kaymorizm

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