Virender Sehwag has slammed the shocking schedule at the Asia Cup where India have been scheduled to play One Day Internationals on back-to-back days on September 18 and 19.
India will be playing two ODIs on consecutive days according to the schedule released for the biennial tournament — set to take place in the UAE from September 15.
Defending champions India will face arch-rivals Pakistan on September 19 in their second match of the 2018 Asia Cup.
Group A consists of India, Pakistan and the yet-to-be-decided qualifier while Group B comprises Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super 4 and two teams will then play the final on 28 September in Dubai.
“I am really shocked to see the scheduling because which country plays back-to-back cricket matches these days? There was a gap of two days in between the T20 matches in England and here you are playing ODIs under hot Dubai weather and that too without a break. So, I don’t think this is a correct scheduling,” Sehwag told India TV.
“Why there’s such hue and cry over playing the Asia Cup? Don’t play the Asia Cup. Prepare the team for the home series or the away series. It’s really difficult to play back-to-back games,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag said a player needs time to attain full fitness after playing a match and BCCI should have at least rescheduled India’s Asia Cup match against the qualifier on September 18.
“There shouldn’t be any back-to-back games. If the BCCI had to cancel anything then it should have been the qualifier game in the Asia Cup rather than reducing the four-day practice match against Essex to three days. A player needs at least 48 hours to recover after playing an ODI match because you field for 3.5 hours and after that if you bat for 2 hours then it makes your total time spend on the ground to 5.5 hours. So, it takes a minimum of 24 to 48 hours for a player to recover,” he said.
The legendary batsman also said playing back-to-back days will tire the Indian players and that will give Pakistan the advantage going into the match.
“When Team India will play the Asia Cup in Dubai in September, there will be too much heat and it will hamper the players’ recovery process. Pakistan will be in a good shape whereas the Indian players will be tired. And if we end up losing the match, then there might be a problem as we all are very passionate whenever we play against Pakistan. We always want India to win against Pakistan but if the Indian players are tired then Pakistan will definitely have the advantage,” he said.
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will play the tournament opener in Dubai on September 15. The title clash will be played on September 28 also in Dubai.
The 2018 edition of the tournament will be played in 50-over format with the 50-over World Cup scheduled to be held in England and Wales in 2019. The previous Asia Cup was played in the T20 format as it preceded the 2016 World T20.
Asia Cup 2018 full schedule:
September 15 – Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka (Dubai)
September 16 – Pakistan vs Qualifier (Dubai)
September 17 – Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)
September 18 – India vs Qualifier (Dubai)
September 19 – India vs Pakistan (Dubai)
September 20 – Bangladesh vs Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)
September 21 – Group A Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Dubai)
September 21 – Group B Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
September 23 – Group A Winner vs Group A Runner-up (Dubai)
September 23 – Group B Winner vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
September 25 – Group A Winner vs Group B Winner (Dubai)
September 26 – Group A Runner-up vs Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)
September 28 – Asia Cup 2018 Final (Dubai)