Injuries are part of parcel of sport. Even the fittest players can be laid low by unexpected health issues. But it’s what players and teams do with such injuries that matters in the end. And looking at how the Indian management has handled the injuries picked up by Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Wriddhiman Saha during the IPL earlier in the year, it has left a lot be desired and is really hurting them in the five-Test series in England.
What’s common between all three injuries is the seriousness of it and the secrecy surrounding it. Kohli picked up a neck injury in the IPL while leading Royal Challengers Bangalore. He still played one more game after picking up a mysterious neck/back injury.
The India captain was supposed to play in the county championship in order to get in the best possible shape ahead of the five-Test series in England. But that plan went put of the window with reports that Kohli consulted an orthopaedic surgeon in Mumbai who diagnosed a serious herniated disc. The BCCI only talked about a neck injury. Kohli passed a fitness test, went to England and looked in decent shape. Until the Lord’s Test where Kohli’s back acted up again and he was forced off the field on Saturday. Even when he came out to be bat in the second innings, Kohli looked in distinct discomfort.
Virat Kohli has back stiffness...yeah that'll happen when you've been carrying your team for ages #ENGvIND— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) August 11, 2018
India are already without Bhuvneshwar and Saha who picked up a back and finger injury in the IPL. While Bhuvi’s injury was kept under wraps as he missed four IPL matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad, it turned out he was hurried back into competitive cricket as his back gave way again and he became unavailable for the Test series after a poor limited overs series against England.
Saha’s case was even worse. What should have been a case of just a finger fracture turned into a career threatening shoulder injury that was allegedly poorly treated at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. In his absence, Dinesh Karthik has donned the keeping gloves in the Test series and has been ordinary behind the stumps and in front of it.
All three players pushed themselves hard in the IPL and picked up injuries. The way their injuries were managed lacked clarity and showed signs of haste, which has resulted in the possibility of even greater long-term fitness issues. And if some or all of them do turn into one, you know who to blame.
Broad (four for 44) and Anderson (four for 23) each bagged a notable new milestone in their stellar careers as England bowled India out for 130 on the fourth evening.
The hosts appeared set for renewed frustration when rain twice more interrupted play in a match which had suffered a first-day washout and lost almost 170 scheduled overs in all.
But after half-an-hour of morning batting in which Chris Woakes (137no) and Sam Curran collected 39 runs for a declaration on 396 for seven, there was time for Anderson to become the first bowler in history to take 100 Test wickets at this famous venue.
Between two further rain breaks, Broad then made the most of leaden skies to move into the top 10 all-time leading Test wicket-takers – before celebrating with two further wickets in two balls, including captain Virat Kohli.
Seventh-wicket pair Hardik Pandya and Ravi Ashwin kept England waiting after tea, with a stand of 55, but Woakes quickly parted them to put his team on the home straight.
Anderson had earlier wasted precious little time bagging his Lord’s century, and getting started on his second too.
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker was armed with the new ball in very favourable conditions for the second time, after Joe Root had raised a few eyebrows around the ground by choosing initially to delay England’s declaration.
Anderson needed just five deliveries to bowl Murali Vijay with a brilliant outswinger to kickstart India’s descent to a first-innings 107 all out.
Second time round, it took him nine as the opener completed his pair when he was caught-behind off an inside-edge as the ball swung down the slope.
The evergreen seamer then also dismissed India’s other opener KL Rahul again, lbw to another one slanted in.
Kohli failed to take the field while England batted on, reportedly because of a back strain, and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane replaced him at number four.
He and Cheteshwar Pujara held firm until the rain arrived. But once under way again in early afternoon, there was no stopping Broad – who took over from Anderson at the pavilion end, with India on 30 for two.
Terrific win for Eng. Made most of luck with toss. Many heroes-Anderson, Broad, Bairstow, Curran & Woakes. None from India quite matching up— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 12, 2018
In his second over he brought the edge from Rahane, and Keaton Jennings took a neat catch away to his left at third slip. Enter Kohli, but he was to lose Pujara after 87 balls of admirable defiance when Broad bowled him off his pads with a perfect inswinger.
Broad’s 421st Test wicket took him up to joint 10th among the all-time leading bowlers, alongside South Africans Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock – and he soon passed them with the wicket of Kohli.
The India captain survived when Broad went to DRS for a catch down the leg-side by Jonny Bairstow, but then there was no reprieve via his own review next ball.
Debutant Ollie Pope dived forward from short-leg to take the catch, and replays confirmed umpire Aleem Dar’s belief that it had hit Kohli’s glove.
Broad then immediately had Dinesh Karthik lbw pushing forward.
His hopes of becoming the first bowler ever to take three Test hat-tricks foundered when he fired the next one to Ashwin for four leg-side byes.
But Woakes broke the resistance of Pandya and Ashwin when he overturned an lbw decision against the former in England’s favour with the first ball of his second spell.
Then in the gathering gloom, Anderson and Woakes made short work of the last three wickets.
After the Supreme Court of India set aside core recommendations of the Justice RM Lodha committee regarding the administration of the Indian cricket board, Lodha has expressed his disappointment over the development.
The Indian court accepted the reservations of the Indian board on key issues, including granting voting rights to established state units and relaxing the cooling off period for officials for election to key posts.
“I will not say that I am shocked but I’m surely disappointed,” Lodha was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.
“These were two fundamental recommendations made by us in our report and it would have introduced good reforms in administration, management and governance. They have diluted the reforms which had all been accepted by Supreme Court (in 2016).”
He said that the motive of his panel was to put an end to the monopoly of office bearers.
“Unless they are removed there won’t be space for newcomers. Our reforms were aimed to stop these officials from building their kingdom for six years,” Lodha added.
“Such reforms were needed to lay a strong foundation. We had worked very hard, spoken to so many stakeholders connected with the game. It had been a really long and comprehensive exercise.”
According to the new amendments made in BCCI’s constitution, office bearers will now be allowed to serve two consecutive terms instead of one. Apart from that, the Supreme Court set aside the ‘one state one vote’ policy. The court thus granted full membership to Mumbai Cricket Association, Vidarbha, and Railways among other bodies.