x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Cricket experts say more net work would result in less arm woes

As more and more bowlers suffer injuries, greats from cricket's past say the problem is players should be bowling more, not less, to build up arm strength.

Saeed Ajmal and Pakistan did plenty of net work prior to their series against England in the UAE. Old pros say more such practice would help prevent the arm troubles many bowlers are experiencing.
Saeed Ajmal and Pakistan did plenty of net work prior to their series against England in the UAE. Old pros say more such practice would help prevent the arm troubles many bowlers are experiencing.

Fast bowling greats such Wasim Akram have talked about it often in the past and now the former New Zealand Test star, Glenn Turner, has joined the chorus that seeks to gives an alternative opinion on the surfeit of injuries among fast bowlers.

"Many assume that overuse is the root cause of injury to bowlers, and particularly among the medium-to-medium-fast variety," Turner wrote in a recent column. "My contention is bowlers are being 'killed with kindness', by being under-bowled rather than the opposite."

It is not a new theory and legends such as Akram and Andy Roberts, and even Clive Rice, have been talking about it for some years now.

"The more you bowl, the better you become," said Rice, a former South Africa all-rounder. "These modern-day fast bowlers do not bowl half the overs I bowled," said Roberts, a member of the fearsome West Indies pace quartet.

"The more you bowl in the nets, the stronger your fast bowling muscles get and your pace increases," said Akram. "Now there is a new system that a bowler cannot bowl more than two overs [in the nets]."

Fast bowlers of today seem to loathe the idea of bowling in the nets. They would rather spend those hours in the gym and that is, as the frequent breakdowns suggest, not really helping their cause. As Turner argues, an athlete does not prepare for a marathon by jogging five or 10km a day, or by spending two hours on the treadmill.

To further prove his points, Turner has dug up statistics that show a significant reduction in the number of overs bowled by individuals. In the 1920s, the likes of Maurice Tate bowled about 1,500 overs in an English season, and another 600 if he toured with England in their winter.

In the early 1960s, Fred Trueman bowled about 1,100 overs per county season alone.

India's Ishant Sharma, 2011's top wicket taker among pacemen in Tests, bowled 507.3 overs in international cricket last year and 149.3 overs in domestic competitions, including the IPL.

Aaqib Javed, the new UAE coach, once talked about how he would put in 10 hours each day to perfect his art. So the aspiring fast bowlers need to listen to these greats; their careers are a testimony to their claims.

Biomechanics and computer analysis may sound impressive, but they cannot be a substitute for hard work. As they say, if you don't use it, you lose it.

 

arizvi@thenational.ae