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Jadeja issue brings focus back on India's fitness supervision

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Secrecy is the buzzword in Indian cricket these days. Details about injuries of players are often hidden from public domain for reasons unknown. The way Ravindra Jadeja’s injury status has been handled is a good example of this trend.

Team India coach Ravi Shastri, for whom media has become enemy No. 1 of late, accused people sitting thousands of miles of away for blaming the team management for not playing Jadeja in the Perth Test when he was apparently “70-80 per cent fit”. According to Shastri, he was suffering from a stiff shoulder. Yet, in a large ground like Optus in Perth, he came on as a substitute and fielded in the outfield during the second Test in the ongoing series in Australia.

The problem here is not only poor communication and a possible disconnect between the team management and the board, but also poor injury management of top players. This despite millions being spent on a rehab centre at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and Team India boasts of reputed trainers and physios.

We have seen players who aren’t 100 per cent fit being made part of the playing XI. R Ashwin, who suffered an injury during the third Test against England in Headingley earlier this year, played the fourth game at Southampton on a pitch which had something in it for the spinners. He couldn’t deliver and India lost the Test and the series.

Shastri insisted that Ashwin was fit and even criticised Ashwin for a ‘below-par performance.’ Sources in the know of things insist that same injuries for different persons have to be dealt differently, but in case of the current Indian team, it hasn’t always been the case. When custom-made training protocols should be the order of the day, too much insistence on same weight training for all the players is taking its toll on certain individuals.

Former Team India trainer Ramji Srinivasan, who monitored Sachin Tendulkar’s return from career-threatening injuries, said that co-ordination between the trainer and the physio is crucial. “You have to understand that injury management is more of an art than science. Andrew Leipus and me co-ordinated very well when we dealt with Sachin Tendulkar’s injuries. For for L Balaji, whose career was almost over following back injuries, I co-ordinated with sports medicine specialist Vijay Ranawat from UK and the then TN coach WV Raman and set up a protocol in a progressive manner,” Srinivasan explained.

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