Injuries are bound to happen in any sports. So cricketers are not an exception. Of late Sri Lankan cricketers have been hit by regular injury blows.
Despite cricketers having a dedicated support staff to look in to fitness, players getting injured at regular intervals have been unavoidable, making team selection a tougher job.
Prof. Arjuna de Silva,
former Head of the Sports Ministry's Sports Medicine Unit and also a member of the current Sri Lanka Cricket-appointed medical team states that modern Cricketers play huge amount of cricket, which their bodies can’t take on.He further stated that it’s important to manage player workload to stay injury free.
Australian podiatrist Nicholas Sprenger stated
that the Sri Lankan cricketers have been suffering from high levels of injuries because most players are flat footed and wearing ill-fitting shoes.
Below are 07 key injury blows which occurred during the past 2 years.
Kapugedera sustained a knee injury on the eve of Sri Lanka's second match in the ICC Champions Trophy tournament against India. Kapugedara played no further part in the tournament and was replaced by Danushka Gunathilaka.
Injury : Knee Injury
Injury Occurrence : Injured while practices
Repercussions : Ruled out of the Champions Trophy
Current Status : Recovered after 4 weeks (Currently in the squad for the Zimbabwe ODI series)
Kusal Perera picked up a hamstring injury during Sri Lanka's seven-wicket win against India at the Champions Trophy where he had to retire after scoring a match-winning 47 runs. He was promoted to No. 04 and batted brilliantly before he started to get cramps. With just three runs short of a half-century he was forced to retire with an injured hamstring.
Injury : Hamstring injury
Injury Occurrence : Injured while batting against India in the Champions Trophy
Repercussions : Ruled out of Champions Trophy, Zimbabwe tour and possibly the Indian tour
Current status : 6 – 8 weeks recovery time
05. Angelo Mathews
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has been kept out of late due to multiple leg injuries at different time throughout the last year. Mathews’ career has been haunted by nagging hamstring injuries over the past year which has diminished his ability to be the genuine all-rounder which he was tipped to be.
In the 4th ODI of the Australia tour of Sri Lanka (September 2016) Mathews sustained a calf injury when he pulled up short after pushing off his back foot running for a single on 27. Mathews struggled to move in the crease and later was retired hurt.
Injury : Calf injury
Injury Occurrence : Injured while batting
- Ruled out of the 5th ODI match and 2 T20 matches against Australia
- Ruled out of the Sri Lanka tour of Zimbabwe (2 Test matches)
- Ruled out of the Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe Tri Nation Series
Recovered but injured again
In the Sri Lanka tour of South Africa (January 2017) Mathews twisted his ankle on the 2nd T20 international where he hit two sixes in the last over to hand Sri Lanka a series-levelling three-wicket win after suffering a 3-0 Test series whitewash to South Africa. He struggled to move in the latter part of the innings but Mathews held his nerve and ended the match in style. But he was ruled out for the remainder of the series.
Injury : Ankle injury
Injury Occurrence : Injured while batting on the 2nd T20 against South Africa
- Ruled out of the 3rd T20 match and 5 ODI’s against South Africa
- Ruled out of the Australian T20 series: Ruled out of the Bangladesh series
Despite recovering from the repeated injuries and being declared fit ahead of the team’s departure to the United Kingdom for the Champions trophy Mathews was later ruled out of the 1st match against South Africa due to another calf strain occurred during practices.
Current status: Recovered from Injuries but he may not bowl until advised by his medical team.
Mirror Cricket POLL
04. Dhammika Prasad
Early part of the 2016, Dhammika Prasad spearheaded the Sri Lankan Test fast bowling attack and in the Sri Lankan tour of England Prasad was supposed to carry the weight of an experience campaigner under the English conditions. But unfortunately he injured his shoulder while bowling against Essex in a warm-up match and was recalled home.
Injury : Shoulder injury
Injury Occurrence : Injured while bowling in a warm up game (The injury was a prevailing injury but aggravated in the warm up match)
- Ruled out of all the tours since the March 2016 England tour
- Not listed under the Sri Lanka Cricket player Contracts
Current status : Not yet recovered
03. Dushmantha Chameera
Bowling at 140 kmph with consistency and accuracy, Dushmantha Chameera rose quickly up the fast bowling ranks, becoming one of the more exciting prospects in Sri Lanka cricket. But unfortunately in the May 2016 Sri Lanka tour of England, Chameera was ruled out after suffering a stress fracture to his lower back.
At the time of injury he was advised to rest for four months but his recovery took longer than expected.
Injury : Lower back stress fracture
Injury Occurrence : After the 1st Test Match against England in May 2016
Repercussions : Ruled out in the England Series in March 2016
Current status : Recovered and currently playing in the ODI's against Zimbabwe
02. Nuwan Pradeep
Nuwan Pradeep also tops the list of injuries as many injuries occurred throughout his career.
Pradeep played in the 1st Test match in the Australian tour of Sri Lanka's (August 2016) as the team’s only frontline quicky, but later suffered a hamstring strain during training for the 2nd test match.
He was ruled out of the remainder of the test series and was called fit for the 1st ODI. But he aggravated the hamstring injury and was ruled out of the Australian ODI series.
Injury : Hamstring Injury
Injury Occurrence : After the 1st Test Match against Australia (August 2016)
- Ruled out in the remainder of the Test and ODI series against Australia
- Ruled out of the Zimbabwe Test series (September 2016)
Recovered by January 2017 and recalled for the Sri Lankan tour of South Africa
Pradeep played the 1st Test of the South African tour (Jan 2017) and had to leave the field after bowling 16 overs when he complained of a pain in his left thigh. But he went on to recover and play the remaining matches of the series.
Current Status: Pradeep who played the first two ODI’s against Zimbabwe suffered a ‘minor strain’ on his thigh during the 3rd ODI and has been ruled out of the ODI series as precautionary measure
Sri Lankan seamer Malinga is another key individual who has had dramatic injury issues throughout his career. Just before the World T20 in March 2016 Malinga who was then the T20 Captain of the Sri Lankan team was ruled out of the much hyped tournament due to a knee injury.
From November 2015 to June 2017 Malinga has featured only in one International game (T20) against the UAE in Dhaka.
His recovery took longer than expected and Malinga once again returned to national colors in a T20 game in the Sri Lankan Tour of Australia in March 2017. Malinga who has been bombarded with questions about his fitness and ability to bowl ten overs in the ODI format made a comeback to the team in the Champions Trophy opener against South Africa.
Injury : Knee Injury
- Ruled out since the 2016 World T20
- Ruled out for selection from all the series up to the Sri Lankan tour of Australia in March 2017
- Had lost his pace after the injury.