The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Imperative breaks for pacers prescribed

Sydney: Fast bowlers should have a compulsory three-month lay-off from cricket every year to recover from injury, according to a proposal aired at an Australian sports medicine conference on Monday.

A Sydney surgeon who has treated six injured Australian players — five of them bowlers — has supported calls for Australian cricket administrators to ease up on their players. His comments follow a series of injuries to leading Australian pacemen Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath amid heavy international playing schedules and intense competition for team places.

“Here you’ve got a group of 11 people and over half the team’s had surgery,” St Vincent’s ankle surgeon Martin Sullivan said. He added that players were also under so much pressure to keep their place on the side that they were hiding their injuries, which were partly the result of a punishing itinerary.

Sullivan told the National Sports Injury Prevention Conference in Canberra he had treated five players for a chronic ankle injury in which a bone was like “a nut being crushed in a nut cracker”. At least two of the players were also suffering injuries in other parts of their bodies directly related to the ankle problem, he revealed.

Lee’s manager Neil Maxwell said the stress on Australia’s front-line bowlers was so intense that it could influence on-field tactics such as enforcing the follow-on, to make opposing teams bat twice in a row. “Other teams are following on all the time, so you get people like Brett bowling 60 overs of express pace in two or three days,” he said.

Maxwell said the problem was compounded by increasingly heavy international schedules, particularly back-to-back Tests like the traditional Boxing Day match in Melbourne and the New Year game in Sydney.

“Sometimes players aren’t getting a rest between matches, or between innings,” he said. “It all adds up.” Australian Cricketers’ Association President Ian Healy said: “If nothing is done in the next ten years bowling careers will definitely be shortened, if players want to play both forms of the game (one-day and Test matches).”

Email This Page