With the cricket season now in full-swing, it is important for cricketers of all ages and abilities to be aware of some of the inherent injury risks of playing the sport. While cricket is a non-contact sport and does not produce the same type of injuries as AFL, there are still some commonly sustained cricket-related injuries to look out for.
According to research published by Orchard, Kountouris and Sims in 2016, the most common injuries sustained while playing cricket are as follows:
Fractures of the wrist and hand
Lower back injuries (not stress fractures)
Stress fractures of the lumbar spine
Hamstring strains are the most common injury sustained while playing cricket and can occur while bowling, batting and fielding. The number of hamstring strains has also increased since the introduction of T20 cricket, with many of these injuries happening during the shorter forms of the game.
Fast bowlers have the highest overall risk of injury. This is due to the violent action of bowling at a high speed and the amount of times that this action is repeated during matches and training sessions. Young, developing fast bowlers are at greatest risk. A lot of research has focused on finding the optimal number of balls that should be bowled in order to reduce the risk of injury in pace bowlers.
Injuries such as stress fractures occur when an athlete’s acute workload far exceeds the chronic workload. This may happen if a bowler has not been training at a consistent level (chronic load), and then has a sudden, dramatic increase in the number of balls bowled (acute load). In other words, not training enough can lead to as much of an injury risk as over-training can. These injuries may also take 3-4 weeks to develop following a sudden spike in loading.
Some key tips to reduce the incidence of injury while cricket include:
Keeping a close record on number of balls bowled for fast bowlers and ensuring that there is a steady, gradual increase from the start of pre-season and transitioning into games
Working on core stability, especially for fast bowlers
Incorporating sprinting into training so the body is used to running at high speeds before being required to do it in a game
If an injury is sustained that requires time out of the game, a gradual return needs to be made to all elements of the game (bowling, running, throwing, batting) to ensure an adequate chronic workload
If you are interested in booking an appointment with a local Sports Physiotherapist with a special interest in all cricket related Injuries, please book online here or call your nearest Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy clinic.
Orchard, J.W., Kountouris, A., and Sims, K. (2016). Incidence and prevalence of elite male cricket injuries using updated consensus definitions. Open Access J Sports Med, 7, 187-194.