A Stinging Critique Of BCCI’s Injury Management

From Partha Bhaduri of Times of India:

BCCI’s injury and medical management leaves a lot to be desired. It seems to be obscured in a haze of chronic player fatigue, insanely jam-packed schedules and the usual practice of shifting of blame on under-pressure players whenever these prickly issues are raised.

Meanwhile, there are noises that the BCCI will release a new “injury management policy” in 2012. Details are still sketchy, but:

According to sources, the BCCI is keen to reduce the role of franchise-employed physiotherapists when it comes to the treating contracted players. Besides, the IPL team owners will not be able to decide when and where the elite Indian cricketers get treated on getting injured.

I’ve said plenty about how I feel about injuries in cricket, and our ethical duties to modern athletes. It pains me to discover that Gambhir may have been taking cortisone shots to his shoulder, a controversial decision in light of current banned drug lists. This kind of stuff is truly frightening.

The club-country conflict is throwing many people for a loop. The issues are: 1) How do we schedule the international calendar to fit in all three formats and leagues? 2) How do we allocate talent (i.e., players) so they can satisfy supply and demand?

In response, we seem to have the following solutions: 1) The current setup works. Have the IPL and Champions League in a narrow 3-week calendar that clashes with some low-key international series and England’s county cricket. 2) Schedule an “IPL” window so that players like Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara don’t have to choose between Test careers and money. 3) Various reforms and changes to the FTP program, to include a Test championship, or to sideline Test teams apart from the Big 4 (England, South Africa, India, Australia).

Optimists also hope that, as time goes on, we’ll get used to these sorts of leagues and the market will sort itself out. So, for instance, we will have players who specialize in particular formats or leagues, instead of the current situation in which cricketers are generally expected to try their hand across the board. (England has already taken a step in this direction by choosing three captains for each format.) Russ, of Knotted Paths, also points out that as international teams lose their luster, franchise contracts will improve and offer new incentives. We shall see.

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