Are players risking injury to keep their places in the team?

Thursday, 23 December 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The ongoing Lanka Premier League has raised some question marks over the fitness of the players who are

Angelo Mathews
Kusal Perera

currently representing the different franchises.

There have been reports of two Colombo Stars players, Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews, who continue to play despite carrying injuries and not 100% fit.

Perera is carrying a shoulder injury and Mathews suffered a hamstring strain during the second Test against the West Indies, which saw him miss out on Colombo’s first few matches in the LPL.

“Kusal Perera has a problem with his shoulder but basically he says that he is fit enough to play. That was his choice. Even if the physio feels that he is not fit enough, if the player says, ‘I don’t have pain I can play,’ the physio doesn’t have a say. We will have to wait and see what the outcome is after the LPL. Kusal most probably will have to go through rehab after the LPL,” said Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva.

“The final say on fitness is with the player, if he says, ‘I don’t have a problem I am fit enough to play, and I don’t have any pain,’ how will the physio know what he has got inside? If a player complains only the physio will look into it, and then he will do an MRI and let us know whether he is fit enough to play or not. But if the player says I am 100% fit, then we have to allow him to play.

“When there is an injury, the best thing is for you to go through rehab. It takes time for you to recover. When you play with an injury it aggravates the system, and once it is aggravated, if it gets bad, you go through rehab, and it takes more time. Our doctors’ panel has always said, ‘if you have an injury go through the rehab, get fully cured without being only 90% fit. Be 100% fit before you start playing again. We can afford to do that now because we have enough players for replacement,” De Silva said.

“This is what happens when the players’ places are being challenged. If you give your place to another player and if he comes off and performs you lose your place in the team. These players also want to play and perform to show that they are good enough to be in the team, so they don’t mind risking injury to play and perform. There are a lot of young players coming up and there are a few youngsters who didn’t get an opportunity to play,” he added.

“The senior players have also realised it and the players who were punished are also performing. There is a strong bench, and they know they’ve got to perform even when they play in the LPL because there are players waiting to replace them.”

De Silva said that the fitness test for the national team players is done once every three months and the next test is not due till the end of January.

“They underwent a fitness test before they went for the T20 World Cup, the next fitness test will be after the Zimbabwe series and before they go to Australia.” (ST)