You may remember last year’s successful blog series on hiking by Omkar Sawant. He’s back, this time taking us through the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. In the first of his four-part cricket series, Omkar discusses the most common cricket injuries and the importance of strength and conditioning training.
2019 ICC World Cup
Summer marks the advent of one of Britain’s popular sports, Cricket. This summer England and Wales are the proud hosts of the 12th ICC Cricket World Cup tournament which begins Thursday 30th May. With the recent success of the English cricket team, the sport is growing in popularity with many budding cricketers trying their hand in the sport. Although cricket has traditionally been labelled to be a lower to moderate injury sport, this has changed over time.
When in play, you’re subjecting your body to various stresses and strains. Fielders must be alert, constantly changing their speed or direction to stop or catch the ball. Batsmen concentrate on the bowler’s delivery of the ball. Again, power must be generated alongside hand-eye coordination to hit the ball out of the boundary. Timing is key.
The most strenuous job in cricket is under the care of a fast bowler. Their job is to constantly run at high speed, using their bodies biomechanics to efficiently deliver the perfect bowl at rapid speed. If we were to compare this to another sportsperson, it would be a tennis player, however they are aided by a racquet. Unlike tennis players, cricket bowlers are subjecting their bodies to the lethal ground force reaction to enable them to generate a fast delivery. Sometimes, in testing weather conditions.
Whilst injury trends vary from country to country, there are some similarities:
- Most injuries are non-contact and overuse injuries
- Muscle injuries are the most common
- Joint and tendon injuries are less common but do occur.
Types of injury
- Acute injuries are the most common (64-76%)
- Acute-on-chronic injuries (16.22.8%)
- Chronic injuries (8-22%)
These trends change depending on the following demographics:
- Game format
- Expertise on the field
Common injuries occur during training and warm-ups, not just during matches.
As mentioned, fast bowlers are the most injury prone, with the most common occurring in the lumber spine or lower limbs in all age groups. Young fast bowlers are most prone to lumbar stress fractures, which can end a career. On the other hand, mature bowlers are more prone to muscle and abdominal strains.
Other issues include:
- Inadequate physical attributes, including poor posture
- Poor technique
- High physical demands
- Excess workload (overloading or a spike in acute workload)
Most commonly, lower limb injuries found in batsmen are as a result of sprinting between wickets and high workload. A lot of injuries occur due to a lack of preparation in the form of conditioning, i.e. being physically trained for the required conditions.
Strength and Conditioning
It is vital for all cricketers to regularly strength and condition in the gym as part of their training. The role of a physiotherapist is to consider the varied nature of injuries that can arise for a cricketer when training.
What is S&C training?
Strength and conditioning in the gym involves plyometric, eccentric (pushing your body past your normal point of failure) and core training. On average, cricketers have 2-3 S&C sessions off season, with a weekly session serving as good maintenance.
How can Physiotherapy help?
A physio can assess and evaluate your biomechanics and prescribe you a bespoke exercise programme. This way, we can prevent any issues before they arise and help to prolong your cricket career. Should an injury occur, then a personalised injury recovery programme will be created to get you back on the field.
In my subsequent articles, I will be going into more detail the injury risks for each cricketer and how to prevent such injuries from occurring using strength and conditioning. Look out for my next article, ‘Strength and fitness workout programme for fast bowlers’.
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