Author Archives: lovethewillow

Cricket and Injuries

Injuries in Cricket

Injuries and Cricket have a long history. Many careers have been altered due to injuries and even some lives lost. The recent one being the Phil Hughes story. It was really sad end to his career. Head injuries however are very rare due to the modern protective gear. The top injuries which alter careers are:

  1. Hamstring Strain – Cricket is a sport which puts a lot of pressure on the lower half of the leg, especially the hamstring. Bowlers and batsmen both are affected. Bowlers more as their part of the game is more demanding on the body. It accounts for around 15% of all cricket injuries. Bowlers should take special care as they are the most affected by this injury.
  2. Lower Back pain – This is the injury which forced Michael Clarke to take an early retirement from Cricket. It mostly happens due to bending for long periods and the most common injury among Test Batsmen who bat for long periods. It accounts for around 10% of all injuries.Muscle strengthening can help but once this injury comes up it invariably shortens the career.
  3. Side Strain – It is the tearing of internal oblique muscle. It mostly happens to bowlers and takes 3 to 4 weeks to come back to the game. It is not career threatening but is the most common injury. Accounts for over 40% of cricket injuries.

Two great Cricketers Retired….

Michael Clarke with wife while announcing his retirement

Yes the English came on top in Ashes. They really played well? I think the Australians were a little bit erratic and that cost them. England has found Joe Root. He is the backbone of their batting, and he was the one who won it for them. BUt let alone the 3-2 victory, it also was the occasion of Michael Clarke retiring from all forms of cricket. Clarke had already retired from One-Day after winning the World Cup, but the final retirement was not that sweet. He did not score runs, was under lots of pressure and finally buckled. All retirements are not fairy tales like Sachin Tendulkar. Lots of luck Pup on a new innings in life.

Sangakkara bidding adieu

On the other side in Sri Lanka another great man was retiring. Kumar Sangakkara had it all planned. He was due to retire last year but continued to help his team. Here too the retirement was not in a win. In fact India thumped Sri Lanka in the test in which Sangakkara retired to level 1-1. They went on to win the next test and the series. However the retirement of Sangakkara was a great celebrated affair. In spite of the defeat so many stalwarts of cricket were present to felicitate him. The moving speech was given by Sunil Gavaskar who spoke about how much Sanga had given to World cricket. Sanga also gave a speech and it was the first time I saw him being emotional on TV. Thanks Sanga for entertaining us.

Ashes in England 2015 – Are the English Prepared?

 

Ashes starts July 8 2015

With the recent showing against the upcoming Kiwis England cricket team has done some preparation for Australia coming home. They drew the series against the Kiwis but their batting is the main worry. The major bright spot of both one day and tests against the series was Ben Stokes.

Ben Stokes always had the talent but he showed the maturity of becoming the replacement for Andrew Flintoff England were so long looking for. Another player to emerge as the future player was Johnny Bairstow. The way he won the deciding one day for England when all seemed lost was exemplary. The long time poster boy of England cricket Joe Root also has finally come good. He showed class and finesse in each of his innings. Alistair Cook also looked in good form in the tests. He has solved his off stump issues for now, it seems.

The bowling department also looks good with Steve Finn making a great come back. The speed and bounce are back and also the fitness. James Anderson is the usual stuff, great swing bowler. Stuart Broad is still not bowling to his potential but is doing fairly well. So the bowling looks good for English conditions if not ominous.

Jos Butler has also come of age. He looks to destroy the opposition with his bat and also has improved his keeping. He is a good replacement for Matt Prior. So, be prepared for a good series coming up. Australia will under-estimate this young English team at their peril. Yes they are the better team but England will not prove to be pushover this time round, and they are playing in home conditions.

20-20 Is it cricket?

The shortest format of the beautiful game is here to stay.But the question is, Is it really cricket? I have been watching cricket since I was a kid but think that 20-20 is too much of commercialization.

Is it cricket

The Indian Premier League is the most famous of the local 20-20 leagues.There is hard hitting sixes and fours and it is loved by fans across the globe. It is perfect way to advertise cricket. But does it have enough to showcase the skills.

The colorful logos and payments attract players from around the world. Every evening is filled with excitement. Large TV viewership,full stadiums and betting galore.That is 20 20 cricket for you.Mind it, it was never introduced by India. The first experiment was by England, but they did not promote it. I cannot understand the reason for not starting their own league. Caribbean league,big bash in Australia all are money spinners.They indeed produce new talents like the dynamic David Warner form big bash or skillful Murali Vijay from IPL.

My thoughts are different in this respect.Test cricket still is the best form of cricket. Sixes and fours may be cheered, but there is no beautiful site than a batsman grinding a century against a fiery pace bowler or a skillful spinner. That happens only in test cricket.20-20 cricket can be used to recognize talent but Test cricket can only help hone the talent. So what is going to be the future. ICC is tweaking with idea of test cricket in the evening. Believe me it will ruin the beautiful game. Let it be as it is.

New Zealand : The Hunting pack

Who must have predicted that after 20 days into the World Cup New Zealand would be the team to beat. Having decimated almost every team they look in ominous form. They have really made this world cup their own.

Classed out ENgland

The Decimation of England

The most consistent team to never have won the world cup seems to have it in them this time. I watched in awe how they decimated the English batting line up. Tim Southee with the swing he gets can be a handful for any batsman. He took 7/33 to skittle out England for 123 in 33.2 overs. Then came the blast, McCullum the destroyer put all the bowlers to sword. In the process he broke his own record for fastest world cup 50.So supreme was the New Zealand team that the floodlights never had to be put on. The 100 over game finished in less than 50 overs.

It was not all, it was the turn of mighty Australians next.

The Best Match

Trent Boult rocks Australia

So potent is the Southee Bolt combination that even the formidable Australian batting was brought to knees. Add to that the wily Vettori who has fooled the best with his harmless looking spin. The Australians fared better and crossed 150 thanks to Brad Haddin. However the match was good with Mitchell Starc displaying the weakness of the Kiwis. He rocked the batting order after McCullum departed after a quick 50. However Williamson the cool customer saw them through.

This team looks in ominous form and I love to watch them. The flamboyant Brendon McCullum with his inventive captaincy adds to the  already well oiled team.

 

 

Australia has the X factor to win ICC World Cup 2015

If you are a cricket fan there is no other team which is playing better than Australia at the moment. Australia has the X factor. At the top of the batting are two exciting players. Aaron Finch the burly opener is the muscle at the top. He can take any of the world team’s bowling attack to the sword single handedly. Added to that is the pocket dynamo David Warner the nightmare of bowlers. If the opposition does get both of the openers out early they are doomed. In spite of being an attacking pair they have a great record together. Both are in reasonably good form. Add to that the left right combination that can be troublesome for bowlers to adjust their line.

The team to watch out for

The fearsome Australians in ICC world Cup 2015

Even if you get the openers early, the opposition has to contend with Shane Watson. With a great One Day record Watson is one of the most destructive at number 3. Popularly known as “Watto” by team mates he can be handful with bowling too. Next in the batting order is the new sensation Steve Smith. God gifted nimble footwork and stroke play make him the most stable player in the lineup. Smith has been in top form since being anointed the Test Captain. Responsible and one who has the character to bat till 50th over can be headache for the opposition.

Coming at number 5 in the lineup is the little Blaster Glen Maxwell. Fearless stroke play is his strength. He can be really unorthodox and can add punch to the innings. Do not forget George Bailey the gentle destructor. He has an amazing one day record and can switch gears at will.

At 7 is Brad Haddin who holds his place well in a lineup full of stroke players. Then comes the bowling attack. Mitchell Johnson adds fire power. Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Josh Hazelwood complete the pace battery. Then there is the phenomenal finisher James Faulkner who is both a good bowler and batsman.

If Michael Clarke becomes fit then he will add more experience to the lineup. Mitchell Marsh is the backup all rounder.

All of the players are an excellent fielder which adds to the woes of the opposition. With such heavy batting, strong bowling and superb all rounders I do not see any team overtaking them in this world cup. Go Australia Go!!!!!

Time to come together

It’s truly sad writing this blog, but, there probably is no more important topic to write about at the moment in the world of cricket that the tragic death of Phil Hughes. What makes me want to put metaphorical pen to paper, is not the actual death of the man himself, for I did not know him beyond recognising a talent that many of us saw, and it should be left to his family to grieve. But, the way it has binded the cricket nation together in a united show of support.

put out your bats in rememberance

There are many positive messages coming from this tragedy….the way school teams have taken time to reflect on the loss of a person so young, the brilliant Put Out Your Bats campaign, the common sense shown by all in delaying the tests to allow the cricketers to mourn, and mostly the understanding shown to Sean Abbott, who nows has to come to terms with such a freak accident that none of us could understand how he must feel.

But, on the negative side, I find it disturbing how the news outlets and so many others have jumped on this bandwagon for their own benefit. Yes, it was a tragedy, but we need perspective, he was a young man doing what he loved, in one of the safest sporting environments. The family and cricketing community should be left to grieve and mourn, not pursued at every opportunity. I think this article in the Age sums up the balancing act very well.