India's cricketers are under constant fire and the recent massive loss in Melbourne will only focus criticism but a recent report by John Gloster, the team physiotherapist, has revealed that most players are forced to go through games carrying niggles because there is simply no time for them to either recover from injuries or do the rehabilitation work needed.
The BCCI has been made aware of the problems the players suffer, but little is being done to redress the problems. Gloster, in his 14-page report that spells out these problems, highlights that the teams suffer from a "high percentage of 'niggles' and treatable injuries," and has explained these in detail in the weekly injury reports submitted to the board as a matter of course. "Tour schedule and lack of personal conditioning of 'risk areas' for each player," are highlighted by Gloster in his detailed report.
Gloster, not for the first time, has laid out what needs to be done. In his report he states emphatically:
"The best way to prevent is to allow the players 2 things:
1. adequate time for physical conditioning built into itineraries between tours
2. greater rest, rehab and conditioning phases between tours. This particularly relevant for those players playing both forms of the game and never being able to sufficiently rest and recover from 'niggles'. This has meant that a number of players are consistently carrying problems from tour to tour."
While making a strong general point about injury management Gloster has referred specifically to injuries that key players suffered during the last five-ODI and three-Test series against Pakistan. Sreesanth (shoulder strain), RP Singh (side strain), Munaf Patel (lower back strain), Zaheer Khan (plantar facia tear), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (ankle injury), Sachin Tendulkar (knee tendonitis) were all forced to miss matches at some stage because of their injuries.
What is especially worrisome is the fact that two of these players were omitted in the early stages with specific instructions of doing work needed to get them match fit as quickly as possible. Gloster admits that these injuries "highlight some shortcomings in the injury management system." RP Singh and Sreesanth were sent back with "specific instructions for their rehab but no follow-up treatment, advise, progression or re-assessment as where they are situated (Rai Bareilly and Cochin), have no physios and trainers to supervise their rehab and conditioning. Ie (that is) in a way are falling through our protective net."
Gloster does not mince words when he reacts to the criticism the team has received. "I read and hear much about our fast bowlers and their constant injury status etc but once they leave our 'fold' their management, rehab, training and conditioning becomes limited especially when both the national trainer and physio are away on tours."
Gloster goes on to state that he has given a comprehensive solution to this existing problem. "The proposal we have submitted for the use of the facilities now being instigated at the NCA I feel will fill this void significantly. In place now at this institution will be a structure that will support the national team very comfortably, especially for those players leaving a tour due to injury as well as for those joining a tour having returned from an injury layoff.
"The presence of a full time physio and trainer as well as availability of specialised technical advice will mean a more comprehensive recovery package for the player. This will also mean that players prior to arriving on tours will also be better physically conditioned and ready for the physical challenges placed upon them."