Ravi Shastri feels the frequent and recurring injuries to senior Indian bowlers is “unreal”, “ridiculous” and “frustrating”.
Shastri’s comments came while discussing the latest injury to Deepak Chahar, who bowled just one over before pulling out of Chennai Super Kings’ IPL match against Mumbai Indians after picking up a left hamstring injury.
“Let’s put it this way: there are quite a few in the last three or four years who are permanent residents of the NCA,” Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo’s T20 Time:Out show ahead of Super Kings’s home match against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday. “Soon, they’ll get a resident permit there to walk in any time they want, which is not a good thing at all. It’s unreal.”
This was the second time in the last five months Chahar has had to leave a game without finishing his four overs because of hamstring problems. In the second ODI against Bangladesh in Mirpur last December, Chahar pulled out after bowling three overs. He then returned to the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, his base for the majority of 2022 after he suffered a Grade 3 quadricep tear last February.
A stiff back, which was diagnosed as a stress fracture, then delayed his comeback, frustrating both Chahar and the Indian team management, leading to Rohit Sharma saying that the team “can’t afford guys coming in here half-fit and representing the country”.
Chahar is not the only Indian quick to have been sidelined for long periods because of recurring injuries: Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldip Sen, Mohsin Khan and Yash Dayal have all been out of action for varying stretches of late. Bumrah, in fact, attempted a comeback more than once after his back injury before eventually undergoing surgery recently.
Shastri said that what bothered him the most was that most of these players’ workloads were not too big and despite being declared fit by the NCA medical team, they were still picking up injuries.
“Come on, you’re not playing that much cricket to be injured again and again,” Shastri said. “I mean, you can’t play four matches on the trot. What are you going to the NCA for? If you are going to come back and then three matches [later] you’re back there. So make sure you get fit and come once and for all because it’s damn frustrating. Not just for the team, the players, the BCCI, the captains of the various [IPL] franchises. It’s annoying, to say the least.
“I can understand a serious injury, but every four games when someone touches his hamstring or someone touches his groin, you start thinking what are these guys… what are they training, what’s going on. And some of them don’t play any other cricket in the year. It’s just four overs [in the IPL], man, three hours. The game is over.”
A day after the Mumbai Indians match, Super Kings said in a media statement that Chahar would undergo further scans before a call is taken on his participation in the remainder of the IPL.
Chahar himself had said recently that it was never easy to come back from a major injury. In February, in a chat with PTI, he had declared himself “fully fit” and ready for the IPL. “I had two big injures. One was a stress fracture and one was a quad grade 3 tear. They are both very big injuries. You are out for months,” he had said. “Anyone who comes back after the injury, it takes time, especially for the fast bowlers.”