Not too long ago, India's captain, MS Dhoni, was being hailed for his worker bee grade of professionalism. Now, his team mates, and to some extent he himself, would only be given a B-grade for their work.
Even his famously metronomic coach, whose made run-getting such a chore that Detroit wanted to rectuit him as a robot for their screw-tightening plant, had warned of exhaustion (read: motivational fatigue) before the World T20 ... and surely made it a talking point soon after India's exit from it.
Recently, he left another byte-mark about next year's IPL already.
While the players are fatigued, many have been wondering if the fans themselves are as well. In England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, where the sports seasons are very well demarcated, the followers of cricket seem to be able to maintain some kind of sanity. Many of Australia's internationally active cricket heroes followed their lead by skipping on IPL this time around, but did it help?
If Pakistan and Sri Lanka's 1st Test match in Galle is any indication, the answer might be: Yes!
The match has been very closely contested - well, at least until the fourth day - by two teams which are overflowing with hitherto unseen faces. It might not be a coincidence that this quality of cricket came after a prolonged and forced hiatus for Pakistan and even if not as prolonged, an equally forced, break from Sri Lanka's perspective. Of course, one could see that this break also had its impact on the quality of fielding in the Pakistani side ... but that could be "put down" to just lack of match practice ... after all this is their first Test in ...
But the vigor and drive from both teams was quite palpable and rather refreshing, especially in the face of recent Test series between the West Indies and England where all the hot air surrounding the matches seemed to have evaporated and taken away with it some of the mojo from the cricketers' as well.
In contrast, one Pakistani's mojo seems to be on the rising, and considering its already heliotropic tendencies, one wonders how much room there is to rise further. He has had considerable amount of rest as well.