Blame pacers for injuries: Venkatesh Prasad

Former bowling coach feels lack of professionalism and proper guidance a problem.

Kolkata: Indian pacers nowadays are frequent visitors at the National Cricket Academy tending to various injuries or undergoing rehabilitation, when they should be playing for the country.

The rate at which the likes of Zaheer Khan, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma get injured, one feels that a new fast bowler could be making his debut for the country in every alternate series.

While some pundits believe that the hectic calendar is responsible for the situation, former India pacer and bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad begs to differ. He feels it is more about lack of professionalism.

Prasad, who formed a formidable opening bowling attack with Javagal Srinath, feels that the attitude of the players alone is responsible for the situation.

“People keep talking about the hectic scheduling of the Indian cricketers nowadays, but honestly if you look at it, we played the same amount of cricket in the late 1990s, only there was no IPL back then. So the matter is in the head and not the calendar,” Prasad told MAIL TODAY.

“When we started playing, we would keep bowling for hours. Even during long series, I remember bowling close to two hours every day and there would be no short cuts. And we looked after ourselves properly. The concept of fitness and working out was brought into Indian cricket by Srinath and Anil Kumble as they played in the county circuit. We would work on the core muscles and shoulders and not the biceps and triceps."

“I don’t understand why nowadays it is so important to have bulging biceps and triceps as a fast bowler? The players will keep getting hamstring injuries, stress fractures etc and yet all they will have are muscles in the upper body,” he said.

Prasad feels that too many cooks might also be responsible for spoiling the broth.

“The way these cricketers are looked after by the board, I think they need to be more careful. I am just not talking about the kind of money they are paid. Only after they get injured do these players realise that it’s not just about hitting the gym."

“It is also a case of too many people advising them. We didn’t have the concept of a different physiotherapist till Andrew Leipus came on board in 1999. Till then, it was Srinath and Kumble who would advice us and we followed the same rather than running to all and sundry,” he said.