Turning Point: Why do Indian fast bowlers often get hurt?

Bumrah is an exception, as his actions have always involved injuries. But in the case of Prasidh Krishna, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Khalel Ahmed and Umesh Yadav the story is different. Repeated injuries to fast bowlers are frustrating, and as former India coach Ravi Shastri rightly pointed out: Over the past three or four years, quite a few of those who are permanent residents of the NCA.

Mohammed Shami’s childhood coach Mohammed Badruddin says that the whole method of strength and conditioning is not suitable for pacers.

My only advice to young pacers is to work on your seam and swing form, not your body, Badruddin told The Indian Express. He added: I don’t understand this fascination of young pacers with two-hour sessions in the gym. What is the point of it? How does it help you become a better bowler? A fast bowler should be training outside on the ground, working hard in the nets, not lifting weights.

As a coach, I have found it hard to get 16-17 year olds to stay away from the gym. They’re all on Instagram, cricketers posting videos and pictures of themselves working out in the gym, and it sets the wrong precedent among aspiring cricketers. I always tell young fastballers that the gym can only get your body in shape, but it’s the pitch that will give you stamina.

Recently, former India player Virender Sehwag lashed out at former India strength and fitness coach Shanker Basu for putting together the same programs for all Indian players. Sehwag recalled one of his interactions with R. Ashwin when he was coach of the Punjab Kings: Why should there be the same program for Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli? When Ashwin was on the Kings XI Punjab team, he told me he does clean body workouts and jerks because that’s on trend.

Athletes train clean and jerk and still get injured. Imagine a cricketer who starts training when he’s in his 30s.

This may be Virat Kohli’s pound. But not everyone is a Virat Kohli. You have to put together a training program based on your own body, he added.

Former Indian pacer Karsan Gavri blames gym training as the sole cause of these recurring injuries.

All these fast bowlers, they go to the gymtzal, lifting heavy weights, and that’s the reason for the injuries. Lifting heavy weights makes your muscles stiff. Then, when you run, a little thing happens, and it tears, Gavrey said.

The muscles in cricket are very different. To develop those muscles, you have to train more on the nets. Nowadays, everyone is told you can’t bowl more than six overs in the nets. To me, fast bowlers who go to the gym and develop shoulder muscles are a slow death, he added.

Badruddin cites the example of his mentee Shami, an old-school pacesetter who doesn’t believe in gym training.

He learned his lessons after his knee surgery. Now he only does light workouts in the gym. Now he’s bowling like a man who’s 24 years old. He’s in better shape than ever, Badruddin said.

Badruddin shared his mentee’s exciting training regimen. He said: He would plow the field with his tractor and when his feet would go under, he would run.

Badruddin explained why Desi Shami’s training method is so effective: This running strengthens the legs. Before last year’s IPL, Mohsin also trained with Shami, and he told me afterwards, sir: I can feel the difference in my stride. Such is the hard work of Shami. A fast bowler should never spend more time in the gym.

Badruddin believes that Mohsin is not doing even 10 percent of the work that Shami has done, but he believes that after this year’s IPL, the left-arm pacer realized that only good fitness can ensure his longevity.

Last year he scored 150. He was injured and underwent shoulder surgery. This year he was no longer the same bowler. He lost momentum; you can clearly see he was overweight and unprepared.

After the Lucknow Super Giants lost, he came to Amroha the next day. He spends less time in the gym and more time on the ground, laughs Badruddin.

Irfan Pathan’s slump will always remain a mystery to Indian cricket. Fans and several former cricketers blamed Greg Chappell for his sudden fall.

Gavri, however, thinks otherwise. He said: When Irfan burst onto the scene, his action was natural, it was a beautiful bowling with a beautiful swing. People advised him to work out in the gym, and he started doing that. He developed muscles in his shoulder, and his left arm didn’t lift at all. Later he became a bowler with a round1.

In the current lineup of Indian Pacers, Nagarkotti, who appeared on stage during India’s triumph at the 2018 U-19 World Cup, caught everyone’s attention.with his pace. He consistently hit 145 kph, but hasn’t played much since. In five years, Pacer played only three first-class matches, 22 A-League matches and 25 T20 matches.

In the 2022-23 home season, he finally trained and represented the Rajasthan Royals in all formats, but his back injury resumed during the IPL and he is currently waiting for the NCA scan results.

He has spent more days in the NCA than on the ground. It’s been a disappointing five years for both of us. The injuries one after another are a mystery to me, said Nagarkoti’s coach Surender Singh Rathore.

Rathore blames the IPL window on the Packers’ injuries. The young Indian pacers came to the tournament after a long and regressive domestic season. They immediately join the franchise and then do their pre-tournament preparation, playing practice matches. The shorter the format, the more strain on the pacers’ bodies, Rathore said.

Rathore said there is no off-season with so much cricket, and hinted that Nagarkoti might leave one of the formats to prolong his career.

There is no off-season now. With the amount of cricket being played now, we can see pacers picking and choosing formats. The BCCI needs to tell Indian Pacers how to manage their workload. They should be told that we only need you for white ball or red ball and they should train accordingly. Right now, it’s hard for a fast bowler to play all three formats, he said.

***In a chat during the IPL, former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan expressed bewilderment over the constant injuries to Indian pacers.

I am baffled by the fact that bowlers get injured. I think we need to look closely at how they approach the season, or their training to rest and recovery ratio. It’s very difficult to determine in one word what exactly is going wrong, Zaheer said.

Ramji Srinivasan, who has been associated with the Indian team as strength and fitness coach for nearly a decade, believes the bowling coach should play a big role in deciding what workouts a fast bowler needs in the gym. The type of strength training a fast bowler needs is completely different fromt batsman. As for the gym, strength is one component of physical fitness for a bowler. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t do strength training. If you don’t pick the perfect strength exercises that your body needs, it can lead to injuries. Exercise choices should be appropriate for the bowler and appropriate for the action of bowling, pace, recovery between matches, and the load that is required in the off-season, preseason, and during the season. If you put on too much weight, your mechanism changes, your body movement changes. You can be phenomenally strong and lift 100 pounds, but it’s not going to affect your bowling, Ramji said.

Though some fast bowlers still do laps, Ramji believes that by itself, it won’t help them get stronger. For a sport that is generally considered stop-and-go (explosive), Ramji believes you have to define a threshold zone. You have to find the threshold point between anaerobic and aerobic load that gives you maximum efficiency, and that’s where 2 km running comes in. Aerobic exercise is important because fast bowling is all about rhythm. To develop a good rhythm, you need to have proper breathing, and that can only be done with the right running machine. Every time you take a step, you inhale and exhale. There are many ways to develop strength, lifting huge weights is not the only way. For a fast bowler, 60 percent should be aerobic, 30 percent should be strength, and 10 percent should be the rest. A fast bowler should have an individualized program depending on his actions. Even all-rounders like Hardik Pandya or Vijay Shankar should not follow the same programme because they too are batsmen and they should have a separate programme, Ramji added.

Gavri, who used to run a fast bowlers’ camp at IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, feels that the BCCI should resume these camps.

The BCCI used to run camps for fast bowlers, batsmen, spinners and goalkeepers. Now all those camps are closed. I don’t know how the NCA functions now, but the specialized training was very good. It gave Indian cricket depth in all departments. They have to start that again, he said.

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