Indian Premier League Hurt Indians More Than The Australians: Justin Langer
The Covid-19 situation has made things difficult for the Indians as they can't seek replacements. It has forced them to rely on the net bowlers who they thankfully carried considering that they had a very long tour inside a bio-bubble.
"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 on Wednesday.
While Langer agonizingly witnessed David Warner miss the first two Tests due to a groin injury as the Aussie batting struggled, somehow his squad has managed the workload much better than the Indians have. That is why they still have first-choice players available towards the end of the long, arduous tour.
As many as 10 members out of the Australian squad of 18 for the white ball series had played the IPL 2020, with six of those players making the playoffs. Among those in the playoffs, only a couple - Delhi Capitals' (DC) Marcus Stoinis and SunRisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner - had played all 14 games for their franchises in the league phase.
In comparison, most of India's players, barring the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, were part of IPL with most of them being an integral part of their teams.
Importantly, while India's frontline bowling attack was involved heavily in the IPL - Bumrah (15 matches for Mumbai), Shami (14 for Punjab), Ashwin (15 for Delhi), Umesh (although just 2 for Bangalore), Australia's front-line bowlers didn't play much.
Only Pat Cummins among the Aussie front-line bowlers played as many as 14 IPL games for Kolkata while Josh Hazlewood featured in just three matches for Chennai. Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc skipped the IPL whereas off-spinner Nathan Lyon doesn't feature in IPL at all.
Importantly, for all the players who didn't make the play-offs, Cricket Australia sent members of support staff to ensure the players whose teams were out of the tournament before play-offs got enough training and rest. Those players were Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Hazlewood, and Cummins.
Coaches Andrew McDonald (Mumbai Indians), Ricky Ponting (Delhi Capitals), and Simon Katich (Royal Challengers Bangalore) were also tasked to look after the workload of the Aussie players during the IPL.