Australia news January 17, 2012

Boots investigated as potential source of foot injuries

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Boots worn by the young fast bowlers Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood are being investigated by Cricket Australia as a potential source of the foot injuries that have cruelled their summer.

Pat Howard, the Australia team performance manager, has requested the investigation after noting that Cummins, Pattinson and Hazlewood were all wearing the same type of Asics cricket boots while sustaining foot injuries.

"I've asked exactly the same question," Howard told ESPNcricinfo. "It's a fair question, we're not suggesting it is the reason, but it is something that has to be reviewed as part of the overall.

"Workloads, body management, history, age, footwear, all those things have got to be reviewed as part of the bigger picture.

"There's lots of people wearing Asics that haven't had that problem. It is definitely being reviewed, but the reality is they're all young men and it is also about how much bowling have they done in the lead-up to this period [to getting injured]."

Cummins complained of heel pain during his Test debut against South Africa in Johannesburg, and has not played a competitive match since after the early signs of stress fractures were spotted.

Pattinson scooped 25 wickets in four Tests before complaining of foot pain during the second innings of the SCG Test, and was ruled out of the remainder of the series against India when scans also revealed stress hot spots in the metatarsal bone.

Hazlewood, who made his ODI debut for Australia in 2010, returned to action for New South Wales this summer after a lengthy recovery from back stress fractures, but has been put out of action for the remainder of the domestic summer due to a fracture in his left foot.

When he took the job as team performance manager from a background of rugby and pharmacy, Howard promised to ask awkward questions, and the one of fast bowlers' footwear is not the most convenient. Asics, manufacturers of the boots worn by the fast bowling trio, took up a lucrative equipment and sponsorship deal with CA at the start of the summer.

Asics boots have long been the favoured footwear of fast bowlers in Australia, and are also popular in England.

Howard said that while the injuries had been unfortunate for those concerned, they had also allowed the selectors to expand the pool of fast bowlers they are confident of choosing for international duty, whether they be in the marquee series against India or lower profile engagements against New Zealand or the West Indies.

"We have changed the mandate for what we look for out of different series," Howard said. "What we have done well and the selectors and the coaches and the medical staff have worked really hard on, is having Mitchell Starc and Ryan Harris there around the Test team.

"They were coming into the squad in Sydney, bowling in the nets in Melbourne, we wanted these guys in and around because we knew the workloads had been very high for the likes of James Pattinson and we had to make sure players were ready to go.

"Part of it is mitigating injury and part of it is making sure the next guys are raring and ready to go. We know players will be injured and one of the positive things we've got out of this summer is we've got a lot of bowlers we believe in, and we actually believe there's a couple more we can believe in. That's been a positive out of the summer."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AKS286 on January 20, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    @ gpm86 u talk about pressure to the batting side. then why not BEER. BEER IS THE ONLY BOWLER who makes pressure on the ashes and bowled bravely. one more thing on the weak team like india (in this series) need OF pressure requires.... NO never. india from 1st ovr in the pressure.don' u think so?

  • RandyOZ on January 20, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Too much gym work and not enough skills training in the nets. Keep Langer away from the batsmen though.

  • notvery on January 19, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Young bowlers should bowl more and spend less time in the gym. nothing prepares you for bowling like bowling. its unnatural and you need to harden your body to it. same with batting.

  • gpm86 on January 19, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    @AKS286 - your comments are ridiculous. Harris bowled outstandingly in perth, economy rate to show. You mustnt be much of a cricket fan. Regularly a bowler builds pressure and the other end there are wicket takers...

    Australia bowl as a unit. Regardless of who takes the majority of the wickets they get the 20. Harris also had limited opportunity at the tail both digs, with Starc, Hilfy and Siddle cleaning those pathetic tails up to help boost their tallies.

  • Meety on January 19, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    @Gizza - well said, (LOL about Reebok!) @AKS286 - you're off your meds again! @ thetopofoff - maybe, but these guys are fairly big units, if there is a manufacturing flaw in the type they have, or just aren't suited/fitted, it's plausible, although unlikely. I'm happy enough for this to be investigated, something has to be done, the rate of injury is far worse than it should be. I have tended to think travel between games & high intensity efforts in short forms would contribute, but that doesn't cover theses bone injuries. Funny that in the old days you'd see pace bowlers hacking out holes for their toes & never seem to get injured! @Exfactor44 - very interesting! @Prash Ganan - if you got a DeLorean I have a plan!!!!!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on January 18, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    Solution go back in time to the 1980s and get a proper pair of boots. A time when we didn't have all this mandy pandy ooh look at my boots...oh how pretty...oh color suits you sir attitude.Pathetic.

  • SRT_GENIUS on January 18, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    @Arkancharlie: I have never seen a cricket play with boots. Maybe my definition of "boots" is incorrect. Can you pls post a link to a pic/item ?

  • Exfactor44 on January 18, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    One of the places I have worked has been a Sporting Retailer where Asics footwear,alongside other major brands, were regularly sold. Asics are still top of the range however in one of their models they changed the construction and material of the insole in their shoe - a great many runners returned to their previous model after having foot problems and/or suffering injuries. Perhaps a similar technology, with a positive intention in mind, found its way into a range of their cricket shoes and is having a negative effect?

  • ElvisKing on January 18, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Just for the pun of it "Looks like the Boot was on the Wrong Foot" ! May be they tried to overdo their bowling a bit against the Indians and SAfrikaans because of Fear Factor !

  • pepsi_challenge on January 18, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    Pat Howard sounds like a very intelligent man

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