August 4, 2011

What's luck got to do with injury?

When a player walks off the field injured, we tend to sympathise. We need to pause to think if he is culpable
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Over the last few days MS Dhoni has been fending off questions about his team's fitness about as frequently as some of his young batsmen have had to fend bouncers in England.

I'm certain Dhoni has his own views on fitness, and I would love to hear them one day, for he is one of the fittest men in international cricket, but as captain - well, he has to say the right things, doesn't he? His patent response to questions about injuries to his key players has been that they are unfortunate and there is nothing one can do. I agree with him that injuries are indeed unfortunate, but I hope he does not really mean it when he says there is nothing one can do about them. There is plenty you can do about injuries, and there is a very good, logical explanation for why some cricketers suffer more of them than others.

When a player gets injured, it is often termed unlucky, and he is generally spared criticism, on the assumption that it was beyond the poor cricketer's control. I have seen, during my playing career, cricketers take advantage of this mindset of the fans and media to tackle their insecurities as players: you would often find a short period of poor form quickly followed by an injury absence.

Except in obvious cases, like where fingers are broken while batting or fielding - like with Yuvraj Singh at Trent Bridge - I really think most injuries should be held against players, as you would a poor performance on the field. Injuries too largely happen because of poor performance - off the field. A player who does not forget that he is a top-level international cricketer, even when he is not playing matches, simply does not get injured often.

Kapil Dev, the great Indian allrounder, who I had the privilege of playing with, was one of the fittest Indian cricketers there has been, and there is no better role model of a fit Indian cricketer than him. Was Kapil lucky that he could play 131 Test matches as a fast-medium bowling allrounder, missing only one Test in between, when he was dropped for playing a wild slog at a delicate stage in a match? No, he wasn't. There was a good reason for why he was so durable.

Kapil's greatest asset was that he was an outstanding athlete. Unathletic cricketers tend to suffer more injuries than athletic ones, and there are numerous examples in Indian cricket of fast bowlers who were talented but not good athletes. Should the lack of athleticism of a player not be held against him? Wouldn't the lack of a natural flair for numbers be held against a chartered accountant who keeps bungling up balance sheets?

Kapil was a superb athlete, and admirably, it was an advantage he never took for granted. He may not have given you the impression of being a thinking batsman, but when it came to his bowling, fielding and general approach to fitness, there was no one quite as sharp. He knew his body well and he made sure that he never pushed it beyond a certain limit, but he was also careful to not keep it in cold storage for too long.

During fielding drills, even before matches, Kapil would always throw the ball back to the keeper with real pace, while most fast bowlers I saw, would want to rest their bowling shoulders. Kapil thought different. He made sure his shoulder was always ready and never surprised - in case he had to throw hard for a run-out first ball of a match, for instance. Damage to a body often happens due to such sudden acts, resulting in the player missing games because of an "unfortunate" injury. Mind you, Kapil was not injury-free through his long career, but he planned the rehabilitation well, so he was always ready and raring to go for the next Test. Playing for India meant a lot to him.

Kapil did not let anyone influence him into changing his natural bowling action - though it had the potential threat of creating lower-back problems. He believed that if his body was allowing him to bowl without discomfort, it had to be the right action for him. I wonder, when I watch some of our Indian seamers who keep breaking down, whether they have strayed from their natural actions so much that their bodies have started protesting.

Rest to the body, as we know, is as critical as physical training, for a long, relatively injury-free career, and that is the big challenge for modern-day players: to get time off to rest their tired bodies. But it is also true that a cricketer opting out of an international series is not as big a deal as it used to be; players are usually given their time off without it being held against them. There is always a tour of West Indies or Bangladesh to take a break from, as we have seen.

I saw a couple of Indian players come into the England Test series off a period of relaxation, with chubby faces and bulging midriffs. That's not something you'd ever see with Rahul Dravid. The only international cricket he plays these days is Test cricket, and he often has to come into the team off long periods of "inactivity", but each time he turns up, he looks lean and mean. Dravid is another player with an excellent record of long-term fitness in Indian cricket, and he does not even have great natural athleticism to thank for it. What he has plenty of, though, as we all know, is discipline. He is the perfect example of that cricketer I mentioned earlier, who even when he is not playing reminds himself every day when he wakes up that he is still an active international player, only waiting for his next international assignment.

Players who are willing to make sacrifices, I have found, sustain fewer injuries than others, so the next time we see a cricketer suffer yet another pulled muscle, let's pause for a moment more before saying, "That's unlucky."

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY ramli on | August 5, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    To compare Rahul Dravid, purely a batsman, with fast bowlers, in terms of fitness is unfair and uncharitable. To be a world class batsman, one need not be an athlete at all (gavaskar, vishwanath, vengsrkar, etc..). They can still deliver. But, if a fast bowler is not an athlete, he cannot survive for long in tests. I agree that fast bowlers need to look after themselves more carefully than anybody else. But that is what the support staff are supposed to monitor and offer help. I thought players hide their injuries or poor fitness to get included in the team rather than out of it. The debacle in England has more to do with unpreparedness than anything else. Let us hope for a turnaround soon. Cheers.

  • POSTED BY arpzzz on | August 5, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Sanjay M. Can only crticise.... Is not he the same person,who once said, Sachin fear from injuries and failures, thats why he skip to play for world XI in Aus......He gives example of kapil dev. He is great allrounder, but kapil took his 300th wicket in 1987,400th in 1992, and 434th in 1994. that show Kapil did not have that impact in last phase of his career.

  • POSTED BY FabLE on | August 5, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Good one, Kapil was my hero when I was in school. But I do not agree with you Sanjay, when I was in school cricket was on Doordarshan and I get to see cricket very rarely, thats because of the amount of cricket India used to play.Things have changed now there are dedicated cricket channels purely becuase of the amont of cricket played.When a player goes through so much cricket it is only natural to get Injured. Fans and commentators are fickle minded, we all say that a cricketer is making lots money now a days and he does not play for his country with pride anymore and all that.More than me you know that there are lots of cricketers that we cheered, who are now broke and disappeared into balckhole - What are we/media/BCCI doing about it ?? Nothing ..Leave cricketers alone it is a demanding job as it is let us not put pressure on them.For god sake they made or country proud TWICE (1984 and 2011)

  • POSTED BY harikeshan on | August 5, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    Sanjay, utterly and completely agree with you a 100%. Remember a past legend stating that he never went to a Gym and thought the only way to make his body stronger was to condition it by bowling repeatedly. Walsh and Ambrose bowled much faster than any of the present Indian New ball bowlers but rarely missed a test due to injury. We as South Asians arent naturally gifted athletes but that does not mean we cant become good athletes. Makaya Nitni has been known to run long distances before and during test matches. Injury seems to be an excuse modern day cricketers use to mask poor form and fitness.

  • POSTED BY Realforever on | August 5, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Hi Sanjay,

    I am completely agreed with all the points and you already know that World-cup is a hectic process and after playing 45 days of intense cricket, do you really think that our players really needed to play IPL-4. They have got enough money from endrosements and winning the worldcup rakes enolugh money.So why they toiled their bodies and inhured themselves and finally skipped WIndies tour.After that The other thing is that England is consistently playing great cricket(winnig Ashes in Australia) and our boys have prepared so pathetically so such a high profile seriies is an puzzle one can't hardly digest.Another Important point is that whether ODI cricket still needs to played or in my view it has to scrapped!

  • POSTED BY on | August 5, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    @sajay manjrekar, you didn't consider how much cricket these guys are playing and kapil has played. Did you?

  • POSTED BY bharat.agr on | August 5, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Completely agree with Sanjay, when it comes to take care off field to avoid injuries. Just one question Mr. Manjrekar. How many tests or ODIs India used to play in 80s and 90s?

  • POSTED BY Biophysicist on | August 5, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Several people commented that the current players have more work load than earlier cricketers like Kapil Dev. To verify if this is true, I compared the bowling load of Kapil and Zaheer during their career using the data given in Cricinfo. If you combine the total deliveries bowled in tests, onedayers and firstclass matches, Kapil bowled 87795 deliveries in his 19 year first class career (1975-1994). This averages to 4621 balls per year. In Zaheer's case I also included the T20 matches. He has bowled a total of 56811 deliveries in his first class career spanning 12 years so far (1999-2011). His average is 4734 deliveries per year. That is roughly two deliveries more than Kapil per week! I don't know if we can call this too much more work load than Kapil had to bear. Let us not forget that Kapil was a genuine allrounder who also spent a lot of time batting, something which we can not say holds good for Zaheer.

  • POSTED BY on | August 5, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    why can't cricketers like Gambhir and Sehwag, skip the IPL to heal their injuries instead of skipping so called low profile international series?

  • POSTED BY daredevilzz on | August 5, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    @rgajria- who else but yuvi??!

  • POSTED BY ramli on | August 5, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    To compare Rahul Dravid, purely a batsman, with fast bowlers, in terms of fitness is unfair and uncharitable. To be a world class batsman, one need not be an athlete at all (gavaskar, vishwanath, vengsrkar, etc..). They can still deliver. But, if a fast bowler is not an athlete, he cannot survive for long in tests. I agree that fast bowlers need to look after themselves more carefully than anybody else. But that is what the support staff are supposed to monitor and offer help. I thought players hide their injuries or poor fitness to get included in the team rather than out of it. The debacle in England has more to do with unpreparedness than anything else. Let us hope for a turnaround soon. Cheers.

  • POSTED BY arpzzz on | August 5, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    Sanjay M. Can only crticise.... Is not he the same person,who once said, Sachin fear from injuries and failures, thats why he skip to play for world XI in Aus......He gives example of kapil dev. He is great allrounder, but kapil took his 300th wicket in 1987,400th in 1992, and 434th in 1994. that show Kapil did not have that impact in last phase of his career.

  • POSTED BY FabLE on | August 5, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Good one, Kapil was my hero when I was in school. But I do not agree with you Sanjay, when I was in school cricket was on Doordarshan and I get to see cricket very rarely, thats because of the amount of cricket India used to play.Things have changed now there are dedicated cricket channels purely becuase of the amont of cricket played.When a player goes through so much cricket it is only natural to get Injured. Fans and commentators are fickle minded, we all say that a cricketer is making lots money now a days and he does not play for his country with pride anymore and all that.More than me you know that there are lots of cricketers that we cheered, who are now broke and disappeared into balckhole - What are we/media/BCCI doing about it ?? Nothing ..Leave cricketers alone it is a demanding job as it is let us not put pressure on them.For god sake they made or country proud TWICE (1984 and 2011)

  • POSTED BY harikeshan on | August 5, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    Sanjay, utterly and completely agree with you a 100%. Remember a past legend stating that he never went to a Gym and thought the only way to make his body stronger was to condition it by bowling repeatedly. Walsh and Ambrose bowled much faster than any of the present Indian New ball bowlers but rarely missed a test due to injury. We as South Asians arent naturally gifted athletes but that does not mean we cant become good athletes. Makaya Nitni has been known to run long distances before and during test matches. Injury seems to be an excuse modern day cricketers use to mask poor form and fitness.

  • POSTED BY Realforever on | August 5, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Hi Sanjay,

    I am completely agreed with all the points and you already know that World-cup is a hectic process and after playing 45 days of intense cricket, do you really think that our players really needed to play IPL-4. They have got enough money from endrosements and winning the worldcup rakes enolugh money.So why they toiled their bodies and inhured themselves and finally skipped WIndies tour.After that The other thing is that England is consistently playing great cricket(winnig Ashes in Australia) and our boys have prepared so pathetically so such a high profile seriies is an puzzle one can't hardly digest.Another Important point is that whether ODI cricket still needs to played or in my view it has to scrapped!

  • POSTED BY on | August 5, 2011, 6:53 GMT

    @sajay manjrekar, you didn't consider how much cricket these guys are playing and kapil has played. Did you?

  • POSTED BY bharat.agr on | August 5, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    Completely agree with Sanjay, when it comes to take care off field to avoid injuries. Just one question Mr. Manjrekar. How many tests or ODIs India used to play in 80s and 90s?

  • POSTED BY Biophysicist on | August 5, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Several people commented that the current players have more work load than earlier cricketers like Kapil Dev. To verify if this is true, I compared the bowling load of Kapil and Zaheer during their career using the data given in Cricinfo. If you combine the total deliveries bowled in tests, onedayers and firstclass matches, Kapil bowled 87795 deliveries in his 19 year first class career (1975-1994). This averages to 4621 balls per year. In Zaheer's case I also included the T20 matches. He has bowled a total of 56811 deliveries in his first class career spanning 12 years so far (1999-2011). His average is 4734 deliveries per year. That is roughly two deliveries more than Kapil per week! I don't know if we can call this too much more work load than Kapil had to bear. Let us not forget that Kapil was a genuine allrounder who also spent a lot of time batting, something which we can not say holds good for Zaheer.

  • POSTED BY on | August 5, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    why can't cricketers like Gambhir and Sehwag, skip the IPL to heal their injuries instead of skipping so called low profile international series?

  • POSTED BY daredevilzz on | August 5, 2011, 2:55 GMT

    @rgajria- who else but yuvi??!

  • POSTED BY Gower_esque_Chris on | August 5, 2011, 2:54 GMT

    Very good article. I do think athletic and disciplined cricketers can become susceptible to injury if truly over worked, but overall I agree. In this series Gambhir was very unfortunate, Yuvraj a bit unlucky but Harbhajan is just trying to hide (he did a pretty decent job so far on the tour) and Zaheer is a liability. Everything should be done to mitigate against injury, but also to plan in case they happen. I get the feeling this India team has used the Zaheer absence in a negative way - its an excuse, probably both for the team performance (India are better with a fit Zaheer) but also because they hadn't planned appropriately for when he got injured.

  • POSTED BY on | August 5, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that a short period of poor form is quickly followed by an injury absence. We know who are talking about and it's very correct. There is absolutely no excuse for not being physically fit upto the levels demanded at the top-tier professional levels that these players are playing at. A lot of injuries can truly be avoided by careful planning. But then again, we don't want the players to get into a frame of mind like it was during your time when fielders hardly made an effort to stop the ball and save the extra runs fearing injury for every little chance.

  • POSTED BY S.N.Singh on | August 5, 2011, 0:42 GMT

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH MR. MANJREKAR. TODAY'S PLAYER DO NOT DO THE RIGHTING ONLY WHAT THE COACH ORDERED THEM TO DO, THE COACH NEVER DID WHAT HE WANT THE PLAYERS TO DO. PLAYING FOOTBALL AND RUGBY AS A HEAT UP IS A DANGEROUS THING TO DO. YOU NEVER SEE THAT PREVIOUSLY IN 40'S- 70'S WHEN YOU HAVE GREAT PLAYERS LIKE SOBERS AND ROHAN KANHAI. YOU NEVER HEAR A PLAYER GOT INJURY BEFORE THE MATCH DOING HEAT UP. IN THOSE DAYS CRICKET DO THEIR ONW TRAINING. THE RUN ABOUT FIVE MILES PER DAY ,THREE DAYS A WEEK. THIS ALONE CAN MAKE YOU FIT AS EVER. IN TODAY'S CRICKET EVERY DAY, THEY GOT INJURY. AND THE OTHER THING THEY WERE STRONG ENOUGH TO PLAY WITH SMALL INJURIES. TRAINING AFTER THE GAME AND "REST", "SLEEP" BETWEEN MATCHES INSTEAD OF PARTYING IS IMPORTANT. S. N. SINGH U.S.A.

  • POSTED BY SaravananIsTheBest on | August 5, 2011, 0:10 GMT

    Sanjay, Completely agreee with you... I would say, Fitness is the best lesson that India should learn from this Tour. And rightly said, MSD's the fittest guy in the current generation, not sure when guys like Yuvi/Rohit planning to follow the same. Ideally technique alone is not suffice, you need a perfect body to execute it.

  • POSTED BY rgajria on | August 5, 2011, 0:09 GMT

    "I saw a couple of Indian players come into the England Test series off a period of relaxation, with chubby faces and bulging midriffs."

    Zaheer Khan for sure. Who is the other player being referred to?

  • POSTED BY Adeel9 on | August 4, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    "You would often find a short period of poor form quickly followed by an injury absence. " LOL, Harbhajan!

    On a more serious note I think we're playing more cricket than ever and the frequency will only go up. So, injuries will be more frequent. We must accept that, players are human too. Having said that, BCCI might need to enforce a mandatory fitness program and players themselves have to co-operate on and off the field.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    Agree with Sanjay on some points... But We cannot compare the players in different era .. Not true some of the key players did not tour west indies.. If the players are tired they should ask for rest . This will give opportunity for younger players who are waiting in the wings can get the chance

  • POSTED BY DevilsCricket on | August 4, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    Completely agree with Sanjay. Zaheer's and Harbhajan's injuries may not have happened if they had prepared better, with better discipline towards taking care of their health. I am sure if Zaheer had been fitter the last 5 years he certainly would've had 50 wickets more

  • POSTED BY gr8sd on | August 4, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    I am completely in agreement with Sanjay, except to difference that lot more cricket is being played now than compared to Kapil's time.. But, again it does not dilute the fact that fitness is the key.. it's like when u r weak physically or mentally u give room for the virus to attack you... Rahul and Kumble are great players... My personal take IPL should be banned .. the reason is it has become a source to make quick & BIG money and you do not see players with passion for the game. Besides, I personally felt and noticed that India Team in both the matches did not appear to have good cohesion or bond .. Some indifference can be seen between the players.. they were just there ... That primarily is the reason as far as i think is the reason for loosing the game... Every physical aspect of it like injuries is just the manifestation of their lack of passion and commitments for the game during this trip so far....Team has lost connectedness ...

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 22:03 GMT

    Sanjay So is the injury that claimed Harbajhan related to form...I have a feeling it does. Again the selectors picked Ojha and not Ashwin who is HS direct competition. There are young uns like Abdullah and Rahul sharma, so Indian spin cupboard is not all empty. Like Bedi said it is time Singh goes and plays some Ranji....

  • POSTED BY xylo on | August 4, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    in physics, the relationship between two entities is studied with all other factors being constant. to compare this team with the team of the 80s, all other factors would have to be the same. unfortunately, they are not, and they are vastly not. your comparison to dravid is somewhat valid though. but then, he is past his prime commercial value - how many commercials do you see featuring Dravid now-a-days? It would definitely help though, if the players look at Dravid's commitment and professional ethic. Ishant seems to be on the right track. The BCCI might have also erred by not letting the players enjoy their world cup success and slotting them right back into the IPL. You cannot really blame players for making a quick buck at the IPL - they have a life to live post their retirement, and they have to make hay while it shines.

  • POSTED BY AndyZaltzmannsHair on | August 4, 2011, 21:33 GMT

    #What's luck got to do, got to do with it What's luck but a second hand emotion What's luck got to do, got to do with it Who needs a body when a body can be broken#

  • POSTED BY datewithdestiny on | August 4, 2011, 21:23 GMT

    I agree with some of the comments Sanjay is making here although not all of it. A lot of injuries are not due to the lack of having a good fitness regime. But most of us are missing the key point he is making. Which is people are not giving up things when they are not playing. Like partying and drinking. Look at Sreesanth. He has grown chubby with a tummy. Yuvraj has an active party life which has hampered his fitness. Which is why some of you should read a recent cricinfo interview of Kohli where he said he has given up all of these to train and gym. The comment about short periods of poor form followed by an injury is a net and not so discreet way of implicating Harbhajan. Which I dont have a problem with. As long as you take the right decision to not let Bhajji play, I dont care about the reasons for not playing him.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | August 4, 2011, 21:16 GMT

    I agree with Sanjay. Probably selectors should take a look at athletic ability as well when selecting team.

  • POSTED BY KarachiKid on | August 4, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Good analysis. However, I have no doubt in mind that the main reason for some many break downs is too much cricket. There is a limit to what body can take. Fast bowlers have always been susceptible to injuries, nothing new. But its is very obvious that either Indian board or certain individual players have given preference to IPL over international cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 20:26 GMT

    I like the aggression behind this article. Indian team has enjoyed the immunity by winning the world cup. Their west indies performance was abysmal. Now they need to get back into shape. Selectors need to do better job in making sure the fittest and strongest seek entry into cricketing world. Agreed - cricketing is a brain game and protein less body can play. But the best efficiency is obtained by breeding healthy players that are fit like England.

  • POSTED BY PradeepR on | August 4, 2011, 20:03 GMT

    Is it a coincidence that the 4 players that are on the injured list now (Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan and Yuvraj) were the ones on Greg Chappell's list for not wanting to maintain fitness and he wanted them out of the team? The fifth one on his list was Ganguly, although I must admit Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh somehow managed to play all the time without getting injured frequently.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    How true Manjrekar is. In the longer version of the game, I mean test cricket, fitness means a lot. Because of the fat money many players have seen and seeing by playing in IPL they think fitness won't be a concern when the selection for the test team comes up. Otherwise how do you account for indisciplined preparation from Zaheer Khan for an important tour like England, where every one knew this is the final frontier to be conquerd to remain the number one team. As Manjrekar says, we can not think other players except Kapil and Dravid as role models for the penchant they have for keeping themselves fit. To this list I will add Kumble also. In fact BCCI should insist players to report to NCA for conditioning under the watchful and supervising eyes of Kumble.

  • POSTED BY Dabi on | August 4, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    Imran Khan was extremely fit but because of the strain on his bowling action had to deal with a lot of injuries. The same goes for Ian Bishop, Waqar Younis, Shane Bond, Shaun Tait and many others. There is merit in what Sanjay says but to blame it completely on the players is incorrect.

  • POSTED BY vickyrIND on | August 4, 2011, 19:07 GMT

    India have a big pool of player but they are not getting managed smartly. Within the current test team most of the players are playing (suppose to play) all matches in form of cricket whether IPL, ODI, T20, test etc. They should be getting rotated and there should be a max number or matches assinged to each player. In any circumstances none of player should be allowed to play more than the assigned matches. In that way we can maintain a balance between the players and also keep them fit. In the current pool of 30-35 contrancted players by BCCI some of them are playing 50 matches or even more per season while others are just limited to 10-15 and that is one of the biggest reason of mental and physical fatigue. Rotation policy should be implemented strictly and not as optional. This will also take care of the STAR status of the cricketers as well.

  • POSTED BY robub on | August 4, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    well in kapil's era the amount of cricket was not to this level. so you can't compare across eras on the fitness but the article has good points.

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | August 4, 2011, 18:47 GMT

    "you would often find a short period of poor form quickly followed by an injury absence" - what a statement!

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    I agree 100% with Sanjay M. Because i still remember how he faced four top class WI fast bowlers, including the great Malcom Marshal and scored centuries. He showed scant respect for short pitch bouncers and played on it merit.

  • POSTED BY muhammad525 on | August 4, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    "Unathletic cricketers tend to suffer more injuries than athletic ones" i disagree inzi was in no way of shape or form was a athletic batsmen, but in his long gruelling career i dont see him missing games due to injuries. i think for a sports person mindset has count more,imran, kapil was good cause mentally they were tougher and brain control the body.

  • POSTED BY vishwanath.sreeraman on | August 4, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    spot on sanjay...very nice article....i would like to add that even injuries like the one sustained by Yuvraj cannot in the strictest sense be termed unfortunate...for it just revealed his shortcomings as a batsman.....gmabhir's injury on the other hand...purely unfortunate...but not the ones when players get injured trying to catch a ball or get hit while batting....those just reveal the players' ineptitude as fielders/batsmen...how many matches have sachin or kallis sat out cos of finger injuries sustained while batting? hardly any...yup there are instances of really spiteful pitches with incosistent bounce and u might be unlucky to get a body hit on those pitches...but yuvi's injury was all about his incompetence against bouncers...and that's definitely not unfortunate

  • POSTED BY golax on | August 4, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    @denza: I take it you haven't been following the recent selection crisis in Australia

  • POSTED BY denza on | August 4, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    You are absolutely right and spot on in this article of yours Sanjay. The fact is that once these players are more or less assured a place in the team they start taking things for granted. The selectors should act like their Australian counterparts who always take current performances into account while picking a team. Is there the same respect for the blue cap among our Indian players as the Aussies have for their Baggy Green.

  • POSTED BY s382412 on | August 4, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Very well said Sanjay... Kapil is the best example for our current cricketer. 131 test without any injury with a burden of carrying lead fast bowler of India..

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | August 4, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    The argument works both ways. A player could be doing his training schedule off the field but still end up injured. You have to look at their training habits before being critical. Zaheer Khan for example has been very focused on his fitness in recent years but still gets injured often.

  • POSTED BY donda on | August 4, 2011, 17:29 GMT

    Awesome man Awesome, I totally agree with Mangraker here. Jhangir Khan the greatest squash player ever was a super athlete, he never missed a single match due to injury because he used to exercise 5 days a week and stayed super fit whole year.

    When you are playing for your country and you are number 1 team then you need to stay fit 365 days a year and for 5 years to create an era.

    See the example of Aussies their players were not getting that much injured even winning 31 tests out of 32 in one go. It's all about pride, practice and desire.

    Indian players are satisfied with IPL and they stay fit during those 2 months that means they are not much interested in international cricket because of money.

    then why to blame players, blame ICC for paying less and BCCI for paying less for international matches. I bet you if you pay each indian player according to IPL contracts they will stay fit for whole year.

  • POSTED BY devilx on | August 4, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    India have never had the history of having good athletes a case in point being our Olympics performances in most disciplines. It can be said except a select few most of our sportspersons do not have the dedication to get to that level of fitness where they can compete with their competitors.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    A good Article Sanjay. Yes currect palyer lack displine but then they are there to make money. Average life of cricketer is 4-5 years so they want to make money. They play lot more cricket now, which in my opinion will be reason for decline in cricket. Current Indian Cricket team lack passion. Their bodies are on the field but mind is somewhere else. They look bored, uninterested. They need to believe in themselves. Show some passion. Thanks for bring Kapil dev, He put Indian Cricket on world map. He started it but never got the respect, he deserve. We talk about Sachin to get Bharat Ratan. yes he deserves it but Kapil also deserves to get BhartRatna. He is true role model.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    th best person indian players can talk to is kapil

  • POSTED BY Sashank_sharma on | August 4, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    MIND BLOWING SANJAY....I hope every one in the Indian team reads this article.... Its awesome......It has touched a vital issue of Indian cricket. Had zak, viru and gauti followed it before, we wouldn't have been in this position... And in the 3rd para, : m sure Sanjay was pointing to HARBHAJAN SINGH who because of his poor form, reasoned that he was injured...

  • POSTED BY kumarms_2000 on | August 4, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    I respect Manjrekar as a batsman but this comparison is correct. Back in Kapil's days players didn't have grueling schedule. These days players play many more games than in 80s and 90s. all these high intensity IPLS , T20s world cups , champion leagues take a lot of toll than test matches and one days. That's why BCCI strategy should change. They need more bench / reserve players than once up on a time. These players should be of the same caliber as the regular players. India should not be looking for Sehwag / Zaheer in their absence. These players are human and their bodies need conditioning. Taking care of fitness is only one aspect of an individual player but they need to watch out for thier schedule also. A rich organization like BCCI shuold have proper plan than acting randomly in selecting the players.

  • POSTED BY breathecricket on | August 4, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    What Sanjay has said is mostly correct. But he has not touched upon a key point. It is important for cricketers to choose what is important for them. Let us take Sachin's case. After a much sought world cup trophy, did he have to play the IPL and skip the Windies tour when he actually is representing the nation, not in 20-20 but in ODI s and tests. Same with Zaheer Khan who we know is fragile, to say the least. He played the gruelling IPL after an intense world cup. And now collapses in the very first day of an all important tour. What an important series this England tour was. How well we could have justified our number one status?? Alas by lack of preparation they have let everyone down. Most cricketers today are not sure which is more important - money or country. End of the day fitness is compromised!!!!

  • POSTED BY ChuckyDoll on | August 4, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    Excellent point! Whole-heartedly agree. After the 1st test debacle, in one of the blogs I had mentioned that not getting injured in "an art". I cited two glaring example from the American Football.... Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. These guys have started every game for 8 or 10 odd years. Football is a contact sport and the QB is one of the most vulnerable positions to get hit. Yet, these guys play smart on the field and off the field. I have been following Peyton Manning for the last 10 years and one of the things I like about this guy is his work ethics and his discipline. My point is: individuals must take care of themselves, fundamentally. I don't know how much the Indian Cricket "System" emphasizes fitness, but the system must also be built so that fitness is part of the cricket schedule. Although I fully sympathize with the injured players; I don't think it is entirely a fluke.

  • POSTED BY pudukkudikaryansujith on | August 4, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    The players are simply shying off from the challenges of playing against this English side. The injuries is directly related to their fears and lack of confidence.

  • POSTED BY NairUSA on | August 4, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    It is unfair to compare Kapil with any modern day cricketers. He was a lion hearted bowler and contributed 110% in all departments of the game. The current Indian players need a mandatory fitness and evaluation plan that aligns with their national and domestic schedules. BCCI need to enforce it. It is interesting to remember that England had left out Samit Patel from their team due to fitness issues. It is a good practice to follow. On the other hand, we never used to hear much injury related absences from the game in the 70s, 80s and 90s for Indian cricketers. That is probably because of the less number of games they used to play, including Kapil.

  • POSTED BY pudukkudikaryansujith on | August 4, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    Well said SM, Indian players are not giving much importance to training hard and keeping themselves fit for match-days. SA and Aussies are natural athletes because of their mental make-up and the virtues installed in them in their tender age. The character TO STAY FIT AND PUT 100% FOR NATIONAL DUTY has to be injected in the budding stage of a cricketer-aspirant. Until and Unless it is done Nobody can CHANGE THE LETHARGIC-MINDSET of Indian Players.

  • POSTED BY Rajdhaniexpress on | August 4, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    I do not think Yuvraj was unlucky when he got hit on his finger at Nottingham. The ball was pitched nearly half way down the wicket. If he had used his skills and not be frightened of the ball he could have well left the ball alone instead of playing so high up.How can you control the shot when you try to play with straight bat to the delivery at face level? What has he done since arriving to England; should he and Raina not have practised playing such short balls?

  • POSTED BY vikram1705 on | August 4, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    Who asked Zaheer to play in IPL? He has made enough money from other formats to live a comfortable life, which majority of the indians can only dream of. He should set his priorities right. India needs him more in real cricket than that farcical format, which is IPL.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 15:54 GMT

    @Ajay Kumar Gupta - Did you miss the part where he said "Playing for India meant a lot to him"? These guys play day in and out in IPL for 2 months right after a grueling world cup and what do you expect? If you are injury prone just don't opt to play for India. Just play for IPL. Thats all.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | August 4, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    very well written article. But to the current players' defence, a) They play more matches of various formats at a much higher frequency. b) I don't think players of the previous generation would have had to turn up at TV shows to act as judges or performers whether on their own or due to sponsorship commitments. I only remember Palmolive, Boost(Kapil), Vigil(Vengsarkar), SKumars(Gavaskar) from the previous generation. Compare that to what the current crop has to deal with.... Luminous, Chyawanprash... seriously? c) The current crop of players have distractions at right about every corner. It is to do with the economic growth of India and elevated expectations on standards of living. d) IPL - whether the players like it or not, I am sure the BCCI would have asked the players to be available. If not, the IPL would have never taken off. e) I could add maybe a few more, but I got to head out :( I am not defending the current crop; I am only saying that some things are not the same now.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    Well sad Manjrekar. On the other hand if you view from Dhoni's point of view, there are only two choices. If you are making money (and playing) you are lucky, otherwise unlucky. His whole career is built on pure luck, so a break in career is unlucky. Simple!

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 4, 2011, 15:48 GMT

    When player walks off the field with a pulled muscle or cramps, he needs to have a close look at his program to keep fit.His injury has no bearing to luck as Sanjay rightly points out. When Chappell was Indian coach he pointed out the lower degree of fitness in the Indian cricketers.One essential he gave was that all cricketers must be good sprinters. He was 100% right when you see the Indian fielders chasing the ball to cut off the boundaries or batsmen running between the wickets. This level of awareness needs to start in the teens.No wonder India never produces any sprinters in the Olympic games.Zaheer walking off the field let India down badly in the Lords test.India were forced to go with 2 bowlers.The Indian Selectors must have a fitness camp for all test players where each player is given standard set of daily exercises in off season to fit his needs. This way each cricketer is fit all the time. Broken bones, shoulder injuries etc have partly "got to do with bad luck".

  • POSTED BY cricketSB on | August 4, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    @ Ajay Kumar Gupta: I think you don't have the right information. Kapil played about 10 tests a year, and a good number of ODI matches as well, particularly in the '90s. He also played nearly all the domestic games. Modern cricketers rarely play the domestic games. So, "more matches" is a myth. English and Australian players go to work more days of the year than the Indians. Also, when our players are resting, they get chubby and unfit? Why so? Is rest causing more harm than good? Why do they opt out of Tests, but not the IPL? Worse, they are happy to play with broken limbs in the IPL.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    We do not have to look too far back... look at Rahul Dravid. He played 97 games continuously since his debut just missing the 100 mark. I do not remember Dravid breaking down in the middle of a game even in the days when he kept wickets.

  • POSTED BY nawwabsahab on | August 4, 2011, 15:46 GMT

    kapil, athlete ? are u kidding me ! man he bowled his entire career in higher 70s and mid 80s (mph)...he was never a threatning or bending his back bowler. his weaponry was swing and line and length, plz dont compare him with modern day artists. yes he could be an idol to mediaocre indian bowling lineup but even srilanka and westindies have tough athletes or lets say fast bowlers than him. and plz dont argue on this

  • POSTED BY Semoli on | August 4, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    Excellent article. Our cricketers do not train to be athletes. They are either ignorant or lazy. I also question their dedication, I think they are going for success and fame rather than excellence in their field of choice.

  • POSTED BY boston_pride on | August 4, 2011, 15:33 GMT

    Brilliant article Sanjay... I would like to add that some people are genuinely fragile like in case of Shane Bond, Cairns or Oram... But if you look at Zaheer, its not like he's fragile... Its just a case of inadequate preparation... FYI Watson was once seen as someone whose body wouldnt hold up for 3 days, but llok at him now... Its just a case of intense training... N Harbhajan's injury seems more like a coverup for his poor form and its like he'd rather sit out a test match 'INJURED' rather than 'DROPPED'

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | August 4, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Lack of gym culture is the main reason. Once they get into the indian team , all bowlers slack off. They journey ended right there. Time to reap rewards after that. Spend less energy as much possible as main source of injury. Without strenthening the knee these players not going to last long. I hope india lose by 4-0. It will be a lesson for all selection of unathletic players in the team. Nothingw ill change though even another 50 years. Because BCCI is more of family run ( closed circle) corporation. They won't go out of way to find athletic tall fast bowlers unless someone reward them. Without scouting concept , it will remain same. Indians have brain but physical aspects never go along with it because of cultural habits of diet and living style. We just shouting at dead man's ear.

  • POSTED BY Aniruddha_K on | August 4, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    Excellent article... Players who are not natural athletes must realize that they need to work harder than others on their fitness.

  • POSTED BY vickyrIND on | August 4, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    Those fast bowlers are more prone to injury who bowls through shoulder compare to those who bowls through runup. I have seen most of fast bowlers now a days use their shoulder more compare to their runup to generate pace and try to surprise the batsman with slow runup and fast pace. The bottom line is that if you keep jurking your shoulder or body to surprise the opponent, your body itself will be surprised by your actions and so tends to break down more. Also to keep your body fit you need to train hard with rigerous fitness shchedule. In my opinion all the bowlers / players need to run atleast few miles / day to keep their muscles fit especially on the days when they are not playing to keep them toned when needed to go into a match. There is no compromise for fitness

  • POSTED BY pabbu on | August 4, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    Mr.Sanjay Majrekar has touched upon important and valid points in the article. I agree to the some of the comments made here by fans. Yes Kapil did not play T20 or these many one day intl's BUT in Test matches he bowled lot more overs than these indian bowlers.India's lone spearhead for a long time. He made sure India Team never suffered because of his unavailability that's why he played 131 Test matches for India with pride and shouldered responsibility admirably.Azharuddin,Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS, never turned up unfit. Younger generation players could learn form these players. Hope they will!!

  • POSTED BY samudralakiku on | August 4, 2011, 15:02 GMT

    Well written article Sanjay. Players are too pampered now a days that they do not focus on the basics that made them successful crickets. When boards start punishing them for lack of discipline and lack of performances, then they will get back to the basics.

  • POSTED BY roxap on | August 4, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    Manjrekar is among those who doesnt quibble about indian cricketers but he always come up with realistic point of view he isnt like shastri or bhogle who for no reason r praising there bowlers, i remember this star indian commentators team created such a hype about Parthiv patel and now you can event find him with the strongest telescope....similarly they brag about there useless semers sreesanth is one such example who got wickets at an alarming average of 34...Ganguly also has good point of view,

  • POSTED BY ElPhenomeno on | August 4, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    I agree with the article in principal, but there cannot be same measuring stick for everyone when it comes to fitness. Some fellas are just genetically gifted than others. Footballers suffer hamstring and muscle injuries all the time and no one would dare pin it on lack of training. As far as I know they are some of the most trained and fit athletes around. Cristiano ronaldo is always likely to suffer less injuries than for example lionel messi no matter how much training messi does. Get the point?

    A lot of indian players are also getting up there in age. Football requires not only skill but also top notch fitness to even get on the pitch whereas cricket requires largely skill and some basic fitness that consists of not having a potbelly. What I'm trying to say its not as cut and dried as this article makes it seem like. Discipline and eating habits is only part of the equation, something you can control. Age and Genetics play a big part as well, sometihng you can't always control.

  • POSTED BY Angad11 on | August 4, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    I totally agree with Sanjay's point that an international and a professional cricketer always needs to take care of his fitness even when not on schedule. But to Kapil's advantage, i dont think he played so much cricket as much as these folks nowadays do.

  • POSTED BY SureshGururajan on | August 4, 2011, 13:45 GMT

    Awesome article. It's like rediscovering a long lost past..

  • POSTED BY SMJ1 on | August 4, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    I think SM is spot on with his comments. Beside Kapil, Azhar was the other cricketer who hardly had injuries only because of his top class fitness, I never saw Azhar even cramping during long innings. Hope Zaheer doesn't follow great Shoaib in fitness, i.e. breaking down in first over of the match..

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | August 4, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    Obviously a player who trains hard and looks after his body well is less likely to have injuries (although that is not invariably the case; England, who train very hard, have lost KP, Broad and Bresnan for significant periods in the last two years and it certainly wasn't for lack of fitness). However, perhaps even more important is that if a player is unfit going into a 5-day test, by the fourth and fifth day he will be struggling. That has been very apparent in this current test series. England and India have started off looking well matched in both games, but England have looked much the stronger, fresher side towards the end of each contest. I think if Zak and Viru play in the next test, you'll see the same thing; they'll start well (they are both world-class players) but by day 3 they will be flagging and the last two days will really find them out. If England bats first and stays at the crease for much more than a day, Sehwag and Zak will be done before India even gets to bat.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    I don agree entirely... how many test matches/ODIs/T20s did Kapil play in his tenure of 15 yrs. Current cricketer plays a lot more matches than in the past. however one has to be an athelete to be a good injury free sportsman.

  • POSTED BY Truemans_Ghost on | August 4, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    Well said. Being an injury resistant player is a virtue in itself. I remember Alan Donald (who knew a thing or two about athleticism) saying that Flintoff's problems stemmed from his bowling fost through strength rather than athleticism. I take sliht issu with the statement that breaking a finger batting is somehow not the player's fault though. If you've been hit on the hand batting, you've done something wrong. You might be lucky and get away with a bruise or unlucky and get a break, but whether you got hit or not is down to you and the bowler

  • POSTED BY TwitterJitter on | August 4, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    @Pranjit Bhattacharyya - Let me see. "our grossly overpaid superstar heroes". So if they were underpaid they would play better? I sure hope you are from Kolkatta because if not the rest of India is doomed as well with this kind of thinking. It assumes that by cutting players pay you can obtain optimal performance. SL and WI should be the #1 and #2 teams going by that standard. You still don't get Manjrekar's point. IF a player pays attention to his fitness, he can play in IPL and more without breaking down. Mind you India's highest scorer since IPL is Dravid who played a full IPL season. Playing in IPL did not make Raina or Yuvraj weak against short pitch bowling. If IPL was not there Zaheer, Yuvi et. all would just have built a bigger tummy in that period. So stop finding a scape goat in IPL for everything. IPL is not a reason for India being #1 in tests nor will it be a reason to loose it in future. Somehow seizing wealth of players or inflicting pain will not make them play better.

  • POSTED BY AnotherCricketFan on | August 4, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    @akilhp - HS played continuously. I thought he as rested for entire WI tour. The one person I pity and fear will break down with overwork and stress is Praveen Kumar. He is the star bowler today. HS is a wimp. One can even admire Sree though he was expensive - he bowled his heart out.

    I think all the frustration is bubbling out becoz we lost 2 Tests. Lest HS would have been left alone and probably even playing the 3rd test despite 2 for 200+. We Indians have a short memory when India wins.

    One can recall - Balaji went from a star in the Pak series to a nobody because of his injury. ZK should be penalized for his lack of application. Indian board should implement penalty clauses for such behaviours like cutting the bonus or retention fee.

  • POSTED BY SridharCric on | August 4, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    After India's world cup win in 1983 , we had been to westindies where we lost the series 5-0. It seems a similar story here. Players have been relaxing after such a big truimph - that is the problem. Injury etc etc is not the problem for the loss. you cannot compare the current injury with the players in past . The current players undergo 5 times busier schedule.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    Well Said Sanjay...For that matter, Gary Kirsten would have been fitter than many Indian cricketers whom he was training... Its all down to Dedication which is clearly lacking in the minds of some cricketers who think of Fame and Money!

  • POSTED BY Rangarajan_Rajamani_Chennai on | August 4, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    Those who are criticizing IPL would be the first ones to watch . . . I mean that stuff is KILLING CRICKET!!!! Give IPL the CLT20 treatment . .. Airtel has withdrawn from CLT20 . . . let DLF withdraw from IPL . . . let sponsors withdraw . . .

    for that we need to stop patronizing IPL which is killing cricket . . .

    AT the end of the day, people who call CHeeka, Srini, BCCI, Dhoni, etc fools are the real fools . . . because these guys earn from what we pay!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Lot of cricket is the problem. India should keep at least 1 months gap for every tour. Either 5 tests should be played or 5 one day games should be played once at a time on a tour.ICC should provide window for IPL so that international players can earn quick bucks and also play international cricket with free mind. I would not straight forwardly blame IPL as it is important money earning tournament for Players(both national & international). Instead my advice would be draw a calendar which is in compliance the growth ambition of Indian Cricket. Zaheer's fitness had been a big problem even in World cup where he was not at his best. As a cricketer you are bound to get tired with such rapid cricket which also comes with a fear to lose your position in the team if you take rest.This problem needs to be quarantined and I am sure this lose against England will bring some sanity into BCCI's management.

  • POSTED BY Amit_Angal on | August 4, 2011, 12:22 GMT

    There can be a contrary argument say for e.g. How would you classify Brett Lee's case..He is an amazing athlete who has had several injuries and eventually retired from test cricket due to those injuries...

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    Kapil said in an interview that everyday he used to run so much distance which is very rare with the current generation cricket players...He lost some of his majestic jump at the crease following the knee surgery in 1984.

  • POSTED BY AtticusFinch on | August 4, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    @Sehwagologist, De Villiers runs the 100m in 8 Seconds? Wow! Usain Bolt run for cover . . .fast!

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | August 4, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Spot On his article. Everyone knows that Zaheer Khan's hamstring injury was down to HIS own lack of training, preparation and warm up matches. The hamstring is the first to go if the athlete hasn't put in the required effort pre series, as it is put under immediate pressure in the action and run up of a fast bowler. Zaheer cleary isn't the bowler he used to be, and England are the better team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Injury management and avoidance is very much a personal affair and it is possible to control these. Frequent injuries indicate a lack of hunger to play every game. I do not recall Kapil Dev laid off by injuries too often.

  • POSTED BY caught_knott_bowled_old on | August 4, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    Very timely. Natural Athletes who follow a Good Training Routine rarely get injured. Dale Steyn seems to be an example of that.

    Indian bowlers are not natural athletes and probably don't follow proper training routines and are therefore frequently injured. Just look at Zak, Nehra, Balaji, Sreesanth..they've spent more time in clinics than they've on the playing field. THe Indian team should hire the trainers from Major League Baseball who look after their pitchers.. They've figured it out over the last 30-40 years.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    Well said Sanjay, the Indian team being unlucky is what most of us like to believe, but the fact of the matter is they lack fitness for international arenas. Was reading a comment earlier mentioning Gambhir's injury was unfortunate, Youvraj's bouncer punch was unlucky and Harbajan and Zaheer had stress injuries. If anyones noticed, South african players have drills to deal with a person standing 3-4 yards from the batsmen (evasisve measures) to deal with the blow (watch any match from last year invovling SA), but to practise those and implement them you require practise and good fitness. Gambhi should not have turned his back to the batsmen. I believe all of us had watched Kallis evade a bouncer from Sreesanth while in SA and got out. If any of you had seen the stretch Kallis did in air, you be suprised how flexible and fit that big man is. Youvraj should have done better with his experience. The injury to our bowlers the cosiquence of them mismanaging their assets in the long term.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    well said Sanjay.It's time some of our grossly overpaid superstar heroes of Indian cricket team woke up to the fact that playing cricket for India is how they have achieved their current status and they owe it to the Indian public to focus on their game and fitness and not on the highlife of bollywood heroes.

    I disagree with your stance on IPL('thank god for IPL') because a)it does not give batsmen the practice of playing bouncers as they do not bowl too many of them in the shorter version of the game and b)it appears to have given the Indian cricketers a misguided sense of priority.By the way are there no thinking people in BCCI ?

  • POSTED BY Wharfeseamer on | August 4, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Excuse me, but what has Manjreker's limited international career got to do with his ability to comment on this (or any) issue? I suspect none of us have played much more than decent club cricket but we all come on here throwing our opinions about! And... he is correct in the main. Occasionally players get injured because they ignore warning signs - tightness in muscles for example - that lead to full blown injuries but in the case of both Harbajhan and ZK, they just looked under prepared and less than fit, which is scandalous fore any professional. Had Sehwag not ignored his shoulder injury to play hit and giggle IPL he probably would've been fit for this series too. Impact injuries are bad luck (although if Yuvraj could actually play aggressive short pitched bowling he'd still have all 10 fingers) but sometimes you have to tough it out and get on with it. Gambhir going missing for this test was a bit poor.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    You need not be super fit to play IPL or T20.So these players give a hoot.as simple as that.As much as i dont like Sreesanth's vitriolic nature I really think he has turned up physically fit after an injury lay off.Sanjay means Zaheer and Yuvraj obviously by "a couple of Indian players who turned up with flab" and hes spot on.One of the posters here blame Sanjay and says an "also opened for India" player like him should not criticize players bcos they won the WC.well..this attitude has to change.WC IS OVER and this is an entirely different challenge which the whole cricket world is watching.You are either a full time cricket professional or not.There are no half measures or in betweens.And needless to say RD is referred to as you would expect in any serious article about the game of cricket.a good piece really...

  • POSTED BY AlexPrabu on | August 4, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Well written piece Sanjay. It's really awful that Zaheer Khan turned up after 2 months to England tour in a totally unshapley manner for international cricket player. Even for the naked eyes he looked so big in his waistline. No wonder that he broke down just after 13 overs, that too not chasing a ball to the boundary just when he was ambling in to bowl. This is utterly atrocious. He must realise that because of him that India lost the momentum at the beginning day of the series itself and now we are looking at the possibility of losing the series and the No.1 ranking. Hope he reads this article of Sanjay and mend his ways. Not only him, the whole of Indian international players who take the fitness very lightly must read it.

  • POSTED BY demon_bowler on | August 4, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    The author's words certainly apply to Zaheer Khan, who arrived in England overweight, unfit, and with a lack of preparation. It was clear even from the practice match that he was unlikely to get through five days of test cricket, and playing him at Lord's was a gamble. Nothing else proves how little control Duncan Fletcher has over the Indian team as this lack of fitness and training, for when he was in charge of England, he brought a ruthless professionalism to everything he did, and woe betide any England player who thought he could neglect training. Yuvraj's injury was down to lack of technique against the fast ball.

  • POSTED BY sachinnathan on | August 4, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    well said sanjay. there is only one solution for these matter.. that is "STOP IPL IMMEDIATELY".

  • POSTED BY akhilhp on | August 4, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    Let me count players injured: 1. Zaheer previous injury (?!) 2. Gambhir Injured on field. 3. Sachin Viral Fever... (Previous? No) 4. Yuvraj Injured while batting. 5. Harbhajan got injured in 2nd Test (Playing continously since world cup)

    About whom is Sanjay talking here????

  • POSTED BY karan2404 on | August 4, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    Well said.Kapil Dev hardly got injured during his career.Truly a legend...

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    I understand the feeling of Sanjay. But I still feel injury is unfortunate because now the amount of cricket which is being played is at least 4 times more than what it was 10 years back. That bloody IPL is the main culprit. Players used to play in that tournament in extreme heat and in adverse conditions and the number of matches are so many that it just breaks the players. We cann't also blame the players because IPL is providing them that much of money for a single year which they cann't even earn by playing 5 years of international cricket. That gives them financial security. So BCCI should be blamed. They should either stop this IPL or should curtail the number of matches. It should be maximum of 20-25 matches. So that players would get abudant rest. BCCI cann't go away from its responsibility. After all players are also human beings. I am not happy about how India played in those two tests. But the players must have felt greater pain. I still feel India is going to bounce back.

  • POSTED BY RogerC on | August 4, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    Indians are quick to worship and even quicker to criticize. Even England has injured players like Tremlett and Trott in this series. Why not criticize them? India's real problem is the bench strength, not injuries.

  • POSTED BY Horus on | August 4, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    Bhajji is not injured,He is faking it so that his poor performance can be overlooked.

  • POSTED BY OliverWebber on | August 4, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    I think these are some very interesting points. Ravi-1967 is missing the point: the author acknowledged that some injuries (eg Yuvraj's) were plain unlucky, due to being hit, for example. I also think it is not constructive, just because you disagree with the author, to criticise his background as a player: that has nothing to do with what he writes! In the past, England tours abroad were notorious for being blighted by injury, but recently the situation has improved, partly through better training, and partly through making sure the squad contains high-quality substitute players (eg Tremlett and Bresnan in Australia). I do think the IPL is a problem, as it's quite understandable that players think of the income they would lose by missing IPL, and many will do anything to avoid that loss, even if it compromises their fitness for test matches. Players are only human! So it's not a simple black-and-white issue - but I do agree that it is foolish not to maintain excellent general fitness.

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | August 4, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Change in coaching staff right after WC might also have contributed to lack of complete fitness. Players in contention are usually given off season/rest period fitness regimen to follow and monitored by the team's physical conditioning trainer on a constant basis. Don't know if this process was followed due change in personnel.

  • POSTED BY CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on | August 4, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    I can give u umpteen examples ricky ponting only his pinky got injured during ashes and had roach roasted his elbow thats it,deviliers(probably fittest sportsman on earth can bat,keep,plays rugby,soccer,hockey apparently can run 100 m in 8 odd secs,mitchell johnson,dale steyn perhaps the fittest bowler anyone could ever see along with mitch currently and perhaps ever, and finally MSD man is never injured infact never had any injury and although struggling with keeping in eng but no hiding like yuvi,bhajji

  • POSTED BY Biophysicist on | August 4, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Sanjay - I think you hit the nail right on its head. In fact seeing your title and before I started reading your article I thought of Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid as the right role models for the younger players to follow regarding discipline and fitness. Look at Yuvraj, although his current injury is not due to his own fault - he doesn't look like he is an active, international cricketer. It is all the more disappointing since he was known earlier for his athletic fielding. The 'chubby face and bulging midriff' description fits him quite appropriately.

  • POSTED BY 100_rabh on | August 4, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    well said Sanjay. Infact going one step forward, i would suggest there should be an disciplinary action against these players. First, they block a place in the touring party for such an important tour and then in playing 11. It means you are taking on a world class side with effectively 10 players. Even in our school days, our Physical Trainer will not let us play any game without taking 2 rounds of the fields, how can these professional players think of representing our country without caring a damn. You have let us down Zak.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Well said Sanjay Manjrekar. That is why Dravid is respected so much. Hats off to him really...it is so easy for him to look fat/unfit after long breaks in tests. Really a great cricketer and a role model for others to follow. Just that very few are willing to follow...unfortunately.

    Regards Vivek Marwaha

  • POSTED BY tssbala on | August 4, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Hi Sanjay,

    Excellent article!!! To me I am not surprised about the fitness level of the indians in particular. with one or two exceptions like Kapil we do not have athletes nor do we have the discipline ingrained in our system.

    Thanks, Bala S

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    This article would've carried more brevity if Kapil Dev was the author instead of an 'also played for India' opener.

  • POSTED BY sray23 on | August 4, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    "you would often find a short period of poor form quickly followed by an injury absence" - perfect example in the last match...Harbhajan!! How the most experienced bowler in the pack by far fails to even contain runs if not pick up wickets when the fast bowlers are bowling their hearts out at the other end I dont know...he should be ashamed of himself. Good that he's injured lets give Ojha a decent chance and hope he does well so we dont have to see Bhajji again...

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Yes i totally agree with you. It's beyond comprehension that a rested guy who haven't played cricket in a while picks up an injury straight in his first game. And yes if you want to don your national team's cap then you ought to keep reminding yourself about it constantly. If someone is injured because of his weight or action then he has himself to blame for. Yes i totally agree with you. It's beyond comprehension that a rested guy who haven't played cricket in a while picks up an injury straight in his first game. And yes if you want to don your national team's cap then you ought to keep reminding yourself about it constantly. If someone is injured because of his weight or action then he has himself to blame for.

  • POSTED BY alexbraae on | August 4, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    Harsh Sanjay, but perhaps fair. I think it is still unlucky for fast bowlers, it is after all such an incredible strain on the body to be a human catapult, but batsmen don't have much of an excuse for muscle injuries, cricketers need to keep very fit and warm up properly.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    Very well said sanjay, yes Kapil was one of the fittest cricketer ever produced by india, but u have to understand the amount of cricket these guys are playing these days is ridiculous than the old days, i think its the IPL that is bringing all these injuries to the indian cricketers, they are choosing quantity over quality and ofcourse the fittness level is not there to bear all the burdens of soooo much cricket, so end of the day the blame goes on the cricketer himself. i totally agree on there is no such thing the "unfortunate" injury

  • POSTED BY aarpee2 on | August 4, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    I think Sanjay is right on the money-when we have a great role model in Kapil it really is a pity that he is not invited by the board to deal with the challenges of injury prone young fast bowlers and serve as a mentor.Another disturbing aspect of the modern player like Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma their pace and performance seems to fade as quickly as their rise in the game-one only hopes that money,fame and changes in lifestyle are not the villains .Rahul is truly an exception to the rule.One other aspect that requires attention is how the coaches cope and deal with the situation in keeping the fast bowlers match fit and ready.\Remeber 4 overs in the IPL over 45 days brings in bucks in the millions is more attractive than slogging in tests for 40 to 50 overs for peanuts playing for the India Cap.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 4, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    A good piece and I agree to some extent, however even the fittest of cricketers can fall foul of injuries, Broad in Adelaide, suffered a torn muscle in his stomach, KP suffered a Hernia in the ODI series after. Some cricketers go through their career with the minimal amount of injury, some are just injury prone and only have to tread on a blade of grass wrong and they'll get injured.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    hmm very well written article this one, dravid in this current team is the fittest i mean hardly has he missed a series every in his career cos of a freak injury,and as i have even read in his biography dravid is one man who would work hard for his fitness cos he knew he was not a born athlete but worked hard towards it and the results r seen, he is the same lad which we saw debut in lords abt 15 yrs back just tht the age has caught up with him but fitness wise hes still da best, even kapil , i remember him telling all the current bowlers of india to run 40 to 50 kms per day so tht ur legs could hold the upper body weight well and would reduce injuries , but in todays tedious schedule its hard to do but yeah its all upto the players to decide , they need to prioritize things, but having said tht some injuries well nothing can be done such as wht happened to gambhir , i mean tht was struck hard anyways india certainly need to improve their fitness,

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    Great article, I'm from the older generation and agree with all you've said, Kapil , gavaskar never pulled up because of injury, and even the , we play so much cricket , does not work as earlier they played a lot of domestic cricket.

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  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    Great article, I'm from the older generation and agree with all you've said, Kapil , gavaskar never pulled up because of injury, and even the , we play so much cricket , does not work as earlier they played a lot of domestic cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    hmm very well written article this one, dravid in this current team is the fittest i mean hardly has he missed a series every in his career cos of a freak injury,and as i have even read in his biography dravid is one man who would work hard for his fitness cos he knew he was not a born athlete but worked hard towards it and the results r seen, he is the same lad which we saw debut in lords abt 15 yrs back just tht the age has caught up with him but fitness wise hes still da best, even kapil , i remember him telling all the current bowlers of india to run 40 to 50 kms per day so tht ur legs could hold the upper body weight well and would reduce injuries , but in todays tedious schedule its hard to do but yeah its all upto the players to decide , they need to prioritize things, but having said tht some injuries well nothing can be done such as wht happened to gambhir , i mean tht was struck hard anyways india certainly need to improve their fitness,

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | August 4, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    A good piece and I agree to some extent, however even the fittest of cricketers can fall foul of injuries, Broad in Adelaide, suffered a torn muscle in his stomach, KP suffered a Hernia in the ODI series after. Some cricketers go through their career with the minimal amount of injury, some are just injury prone and only have to tread on a blade of grass wrong and they'll get injured.

  • POSTED BY aarpee2 on | August 4, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    I think Sanjay is right on the money-when we have a great role model in Kapil it really is a pity that he is not invited by the board to deal with the challenges of injury prone young fast bowlers and serve as a mentor.Another disturbing aspect of the modern player like Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma their pace and performance seems to fade as quickly as their rise in the game-one only hopes that money,fame and changes in lifestyle are not the villains .Rahul is truly an exception to the rule.One other aspect that requires attention is how the coaches cope and deal with the situation in keeping the fast bowlers match fit and ready.\Remeber 4 overs in the IPL over 45 days brings in bucks in the millions is more attractive than slogging in tests for 40 to 50 overs for peanuts playing for the India Cap.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    Very well said sanjay, yes Kapil was one of the fittest cricketer ever produced by india, but u have to understand the amount of cricket these guys are playing these days is ridiculous than the old days, i think its the IPL that is bringing all these injuries to the indian cricketers, they are choosing quantity over quality and ofcourse the fittness level is not there to bear all the burdens of soooo much cricket, so end of the day the blame goes on the cricketer himself. i totally agree on there is no such thing the "unfortunate" injury

  • POSTED BY alexbraae on | August 4, 2011, 9:33 GMT

    Harsh Sanjay, but perhaps fair. I think it is still unlucky for fast bowlers, it is after all such an incredible strain on the body to be a human catapult, but batsmen don't have much of an excuse for muscle injuries, cricketers need to keep very fit and warm up properly.

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Yes i totally agree with you. It's beyond comprehension that a rested guy who haven't played cricket in a while picks up an injury straight in his first game. And yes if you want to don your national team's cap then you ought to keep reminding yourself about it constantly. If someone is injured because of his weight or action then he has himself to blame for. Yes i totally agree with you. It's beyond comprehension that a rested guy who haven't played cricket in a while picks up an injury straight in his first game. And yes if you want to don your national team's cap then you ought to keep reminding yourself about it constantly. If someone is injured because of his weight or action then he has himself to blame for.

  • POSTED BY sray23 on | August 4, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    "you would often find a short period of poor form quickly followed by an injury absence" - perfect example in the last match...Harbhajan!! How the most experienced bowler in the pack by far fails to even contain runs if not pick up wickets when the fast bowlers are bowling their hearts out at the other end I dont know...he should be ashamed of himself. Good that he's injured lets give Ojha a decent chance and hope he does well so we dont have to see Bhajji again...

  • POSTED BY on | August 4, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    This article would've carried more brevity if Kapil Dev was the author instead of an 'also played for India' opener.

  • POSTED BY tssbala on | August 4, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Hi Sanjay,

    Excellent article!!! To me I am not surprised about the fitness level of the indians in particular. with one or two exceptions like Kapil we do not have athletes nor do we have the discipline ingrained in our system.

    Thanks, Bala S