Monday, November 21, 2011

Key players' fitness always an issue

Well the latest abuzz in the world of cricket is that India's most experienced pace bowler - Zaheer Khan will have to prove his fitness in case he has to relish his dreams of touring Australia for the Border - Gavaskar trophy starting late next month. This is not the case only with Zaheer Khan and not the case only regarding India - Australia tests. The most important players be it in any department, are found to withdraw during the serious phase of a test series. I remember Sachin Tendulkar missing out for the Border - Gavaskar trophy in 2004-05 played at home.

This proved a trump card for the Aussies who tasted victory on Indian soil after 34 years. So was the case in the Ashes 2005-06 where Shane Warne was found missing from the game which England won by three wickets. And, Glenn McGrath missed out in the only two tests which England won in that series consisting of five games. South Africa always have a problem with Jacques Kallis regarding his fitness whenever an important tour would kick in. But, luckily during such phases, we see Amla doing the job for the Proteas. The Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram was found warming the benches during crucial stages owing to injury.

The problem regarding fitness has more often got to do with fast bowlers than batsmen or spin bowlers. The reason regarding the same may be due to the fact that fast bowlers have to sweat it out more at the nets compared to players from other departments. Fast bowlers move their arms more often than players from any other department in cricket. The players who make it to the top ten can be cited as Sreesanth, Glenn McGrath, Allan Donald, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Waqar Younis, Chaminda Vass, Brett Lee, Shoaib Akthar and last but not the least Shane Bond.

Very few from other departments like Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting make it to that list and that too seldom. Of course, in the last decade or so, Ponting has been on the top to miss a test match or a test series owing to injury. And, coming to spin bowlers, Anil Kumble tops the charts followed by Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh (noted spin bowlers of the world). Added to injuries, the impact of injuries are also found to target fast bowlers more than any other players. An injury to a fast bowler can be career threatening which would not be the case regarding players from other departments.

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