Can you name a current Bangladesh fast bowler who is yet to undergo surgery? Probably not as the likes of Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain and of course Mashrafe Bin Mortaza have all gone under the knife at one point or the other in their careers.
Naturally, pace bowling is such a vulnerable department in cricket that it requires extra work and superb management for any individual to maintain form when considering the workload of a fast bowler.
Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and young Mohammad Saifuddin are the two of the latest fast bowlers to be ruled out of the three-match ODI series in Sri Lanka due to injuries. This came as a huge blow for cricket fans in the country.
The case of Mashrafe is exceptional as the inspirational cricketer, despite having undergone seven surgeries on his legs, has still managed to continue playing cricket.
Ultimately though, Mashrafe had to miss the Sri Lanka tour following a hamstring injury sustained while bowling at the nets a day before the Tigers’ departure for Sri Lanka. According to Bangladesh Cricket Board chief physician Debashish Chowdhury, it is not a fresh injury and will require a total of six to seven weeks to heal.
“We think it’s a re-injury as it was there in the past and flared up now. We gave him three weeks rest to let the injury heal, we will take him to rehab for another three weeks so it’s a total of six to seven weeks for him to fully recover,” Debashish told The Daily Star yesterday.
On the other hand, surprisingly a rather young Saifuddin, who has been struggling with back pain for over nine years now, was also ruled out at the last moment from the Sri Lanka tour.
“Saifuddin’s injury is almost nine years old so he often suffers back pain. Nine years back he was around 13-14 years old. Normally the pace bowlers in Bangladesh, if not everyone, have such injuries. Normally when a 13-14-year-old kid bowls fast everyone praises him, prompting the young kid to try to bowl faster. However, that is not an age for one to try to bowl fast as the muscles have not matured enough at that stage, leaving the bones to take the brunt,” The Tigers’ chief physician said. “What we are doing now is damage control as the injury is already there. We diagnosed that Saifuddin has a lumber facet joint injury. We have even diagnosed that when he was in England and they said the same thing. He was injected there but you can’t continue injecting him for a longer period.”
According to Debashish, Saifuddin has to manage his workload and although his injury will persist until he stops bowling, he added that this is a part of a fast bowler’s career.
“He has manage his workload as he has to figure out the exact number of balls he can bowl on a weekly basis. He needs to increase the easy days and minimize the training days,” explained Debashish.
Debashish added that while it is important for the fast bowlers to take extra care of themselves, at the same time it is their responsibility to work extra hard.
“If you talk about fast bowlers, aside from the training he does daily, he needs to do some individual drills. It won’t be enough for a fast bowler to do the same warm up as he needs to do something extra as the work is different. So, it depends on the individual as it’s not possible for someone to monitor you constantly. Another thing is to carefully look after the small injuries as sometime they try to hide that and take pain killers to recover. Most of the time we get the cases where the players come after the injury gets worse as they initially try to manage on their own,” said Debashish.