In the last 12 years, brand IPL has truly established itself and the franchises have gone all out to increase their fan base. Each franchise has roped in the best cricketers from India and abroad. With time, names of some of these great icons of the game have been associated with specific franchises.
One cannot think of Chennai Super Kings without MS Dhoni. Similarly, imagining Mumbai Indians without Rohit Sharma or Royal Challengers Bangalore without Virat Kohli is well-nigh impossible.
These three stalwarts of the game have captained their respective franchises with different levels of success. Whereas MSD and Rohit Sharma have enjoyed a lot of success as IPL captains, success has eluded Virat Kohli, even though he has flourished as a batsman.
Fans and the owners of these franchises would certainly want to see the big three of Indian cricket lead their teams from the front in 2019 as well. But captaining an IPL side takes a lot out of a player.
With the all-important World Cup resuming within 10 days from the completion of 2019 IPL, it will be prudent to find a way of reducing the workload of these players in the IPL.
Even though skipping the IPL this time to be able to focus on the World Cup seems like the logical way to go, it seems impossible at this time, for obvious reasons. So, the next best solution is to find a way of managing the workload of these players integral to India’s chances in the World Cup.
The first thing the franchises could do is to not burden MSD, Kohli and Rohit with captaincy this time. They can get back to captaining their sides again in 2020.
This will reduce the mental exhaustion and fatigue that could come from captaining the side in such a high-pressure atmosphere. They can simply play as batsmen and of course pitch in with their suggestions, whenever required. But full-time captaincy will take a lot out of them, draining them mentally before the world cup.
Furthermore, the franchises should consider not playing these marque players in all the matches. Similarly, if their respective franchises qualify for the knock-out stage or crash out of contention with some matches still remaining in the group stage, then there is no point playing these players in such inconsequential matches.
But the first step towards managing the workload of the three pillars of Indian cricket would be to relieve them from the burden of captaincy for the IPL 2019.