More Net practise, Less Sport Scientists – the ‘Pietersen’s-way’ of Cricket


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The former English cricketer, Kevin Pietersen, took a firm stand on the obligation of rigorous net practice for players, rather than being ‘molly-coddled’ with sports scientists. 

Citing some names of English legends like Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Glenn McGrath and others, he states that these great players were never ceaselessly being whispered on the neck by a boffin of how many balls they should bowl every day. They were well aware of their body’s potential and the required ways to remain fit. 

The debate followed the ruling out of Jofra Chioke Archer (27 yr.) from the English Summer 2022 due to stress fracture in lower back, as was confirmed by the ECB on May 19th. Since making his debut in an ODI against Ireland, Archer has cracked 42 wickets in Test matches and 30 wickets in ODIs so far. However, in the last 14 months Archer has undergone three surgeries – one on his hand to remove a shard of glass and two on his elbow. The recent back stress fracture adds to his recent misfortunes leading Pieterson to question English player’s fitness regime. 

Kevin Pietersen appreciated Archer’s brilliant English career of 13 Tests, 17 ODIs and 12 T20Is for England and lamented his injuries as ‘a horrible blow for him’. Pieterson himself found it very difficult to imagine Archer recovering from his injuries to be able to play long-form cricket but he still has high hopes for him to do so.  

Earlier, players like Ollie Robinson, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Olly Stone, Mark Wood and many others had suffered injuries and many of them are still awaiting their return to the stadium. And as England heads into their first Test series of the summer against New Zealand in coming month, it already is devoid of eight seam bowlers due to either injury or other fitness issues. 

The former English batter further goes on to state that the presence of sports scientists meddles with the fitness of players. He feels that by having sport scientists with them, players start losing focus on their own bodies or its capabilities. Since the days of Austin Flint, Jr. (1836-1915), physiological responses of the body to exercises have been studied and practised into. A significant number of researches are being done at universities and dedicated research centres every year. But Pieterson objects it well by pointing out that an individual knows best about the limits that he can stretch his body to, and so does a cricketer. 

Questioning the fitness routine of England bowlers, Pieterson asserts that the country’s fast bowlers are no longer able to get through the tough, long days with the ball because “they’re not used to it.” 

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