The never ending injury woes


Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara during training. Both Lakmal and Pradeep have not played the ongoing Inter-Provincial tournament due to injuries and in a bid to address the injury woes, SLC informed provincial teams not to let fast bowlers send down more than 16 overs per innings.

by Rex Clementine

The highly anticipated Inter-Provincial cricket tournament concluded its second round games earlier this week sans some of the finest players. More than half a dozen top players, who would have been eligible for selection for the upcoming tour of West Indies were out of action as they were either nursing injuries or on the rehabilitation process. Sri Lankan cricket has suffered immensely over the last 18 months due to injuries to leading players.

Galle and Kandy, who have completed two rounds of matches played their games without their captains. Angelo Mathews was unavailable for Kandy’s games as he is still going through rehabilitation having hurt his calf just before the Nidahas Trophy while Suranga Lakmal, the captain of Galle complained of a side strain and was ruled out of both games. Niroshan Dickwella stepped up to lead Kandy in the absence of Mathews while Galle were led by Dasun Shanka in place of Lakmal.

The injury list doesn’t stop there. Dushmantha Chameera broke down after sending 12 overs in the first round and has been sidelined for five weeks that puts him in doubt for the tour of West Indies. Nuwan Pradeep, who broke down during Sri Lanka’s last group game of the Nidahas Trophy with a hamstring injury also has been ruled out of West Indies tour along with fast bowler Shehan Madushanka, who had a dream debut in Dhaka claiming a hat-trick. Madushanka is also recovering from a hamstring injury. Kusal Janith Perera’s dodgy hamstring kept him out of action for most part of last year and he was forced to miss the first two games of the Inter-Provincial tournament due to the same injury.

All-rounder Asela Gunaratne is also recovering from a hand injury that he picked up in Bangladesh early this year.

In certain cases, injuries have resurfaced as players have been rushed to action soon after recovering. As a result the selectors have indicated to players that they need to show match fitness before being considered for selections. Another reason for frequent injuries seems that the heavy load of cricket. It is believed that the Sri Lankans have played 14 percent more cricket than all other teams in the last 18 months. The intensity will be pretty high during the next ten months or so as the team is scheduled to play as many as 15 Test matches. There will be a minimum of 20 ODIs during that period.

Apart from international cricket there has been also quite a bit of domestic cricket and that has resulted in little time for players to focus on fitness and recovery. In a bid to address the injury woes, officials informed provincial teams that the maximum number of overs a fast bowler can send down is 16 per innings.

In some cases, wrong diagnosis of injuries have cost the players dearly. Dhammika Prasad had shown tremendous improvement by the end of 2015 and he was among the top ten wicket takers in the world that year. Then he hurt his shoulder. He was told that he need not go through surgery. During rehabilitation, he was made to go through certain exercises and the shoulder gave away again and then he was sent to Australia for surgery. He has played no international cricket since October 2015.

One needs to take the hat off to veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas. The left-arm seamer represented the country for 16 years and during his long stint missed just one tour due to injury (England 1998). Apart from going through the recommended fitness schedule, Vaas looked after himself well working on fitness and endurance and that has been the secret of his success. Vaas is currently a Fast Bowling coach with SLC and the current crop of fast bowlers have not learned much from him.


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