Batting first increases risk of cricket injury


By Will Knight Cricketers who choose to bat first and bowl second could be setting themselves up for an injury, new research shows. The England cricket team may have triumphed over India in the first test match of this summer’s series on Monday. But when England captain Nasar Hussain won the toss and choose to bat, he inadvertently shortened the odds that some of his team would get injured. A team led by John Orchard at the University of Melbourne analysed all cricket matches played by the Australian national team and the six Australian state teams between 1995 and 2001. They found that batting first increased the likelihood of getting injured by up to 60 percent for certain types of player. The reasons are unclear, but bowlers may not warm up as effectively when fielding second, the researchers suggest. “My initial reaction is one of surprise,” says Richard Collins, medical advisor to Kent County Cricket Club in the UK. “But is interesting and worth looking at.” Orchard’s team found that fast bowlers are far more injury-prone that any other type of player. During the six-year period, fast bowlers had a 14 per cent chance of being injured. In contrast, the rate of injury for spin bowlers or specialist batsmen was just four percent, and for wicket keepers only two percent. But batting first also substantially increased the chance of injury. Among fast bowlers, the increase was 60 percent. Collins says this finding is surprising. He says it is unlikely to alter a captain’s decision as to whether to bat or bowl first. This decision usually depends on factors such as pitch conditions and the weather forecast. But he says: “It may emphasize that players have even more responsibility to warm up properly.” Journal reference: British Journal of Sports Science(vol 36,
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