Ahead of first Test against Sri Lanka, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has said he will request the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for a break when he feels his body needs the rest. “Definitely I do need rest, why don’t I need rest? When I think of the time my body should be rested, I’ll ask for it. I am not a robot you can slice my skin and check I bleed,” Indian captain remarked on the eve of the match.

Some media reports had claimed that Kohli had asked BCCI for a break after the second Test against Sri Lanka with a few journalists even going to the extent of suggesting that Kohli wanted to tie the knot with girlfriend Anushka Sharma during the break. Reacting to the news of Hardik Pandya being rested, the Indian captain said rest is paramount for the fitness of all players in order to prevent them for injuries and suffering a burnout. 

‘This is one thing which I don’t think people explain properly. There is a lot of talk from the outside in terms of workload; whether a player should be rested or should not be rested. All cricketers play 40 games in a year. Three guys who should get rest, their workloads are to be managed. 11 players play the game but not everyone would have batted 45 overs in an ODI game or not everyone would have bowled 30 overs in a Test match,’ Kohli assessed.

‘The ones who are doing it regularly need to be assessed because the body takes that much time to recover. People only look at ‘oh everyone has played 40 games’. They don’t look at time spent on the crease.‘The number of runs that have been run between the wicket, the number of overs bowled in difficult conditions, what were the conditions, what were the temperatures like, have the bodies recovered or not. I don’t think people go into that analysis. So from the outside it looks like ‘why are people asking for rest, everyone has played same number of games’.

“But not everyone has the same kind of workload in every game. Only those who have major workload, for example Pujara during a Test season he will have maximum workload because he spends so much time at the crease. His game is built that way. So you can’t compare that to a counter-attacking batsman, because the workload would have been lesser. So I think all these things have to be taken into consideration. Purely because of the fact that we have built such a strong core team now of 20-25 players, you don’t want important players breaking down at important times for the team,’ Kohli elaborated.

Pandya has played 30 matches across formats since the ICC Champions Trophy. The 24-year-old all-rounder recently said that he was the one who asked for rest to recuperate from a few niggles. Kohli said the balance needs to be maintained in which players need rest and which do not, and this is the way to manage workload.‘That is where balance needs to be maintained going forward. If you have too much cricket going on, with guys who play all three formats, it’s humanly impossible to maintain the same level of performance, what you do earlier in the season. Those details are very important while managing workload,’ he added.