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Rediff.com  » Sports » Greg Chappell's recipe to protect fragile fast bowlers

Greg Chappell's recipe to protect fragile fast bowlers

December 14, 2009 12:01 IST

Former Australian captain Greg Chappell wants the national team and Cricket Australia to consider a rotation system to reduce the pressure on fast bowlers.

The current crop of fast bowlers – Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brett Lee and Stuart Clark-- have all been out of the game at the international level at varying periods because of injury brought on by work overload.

Leading one-day bowler Nathan Bracken has been on the long-term injury list.

Chappell, the head coach at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane, believes there must be a change in mindset to manage players through a hectic program.

"The word (rotation) has been widely criticised, but I think we need to be aware of when bowlers in particular are in need of a break and give them a break so that we can avoid these periods," The Australian quoted Chappell, as saying on Sunday.

"That will mean we will have to develop more bowlers and have a squad mentality that prevails so we can manage our way through these situations and when somebody is showing signs of stress we can protect them at the point they need it," he added.

Given the recent spate of injuries, Australia's fast bowling stocks are thinning quickly, with Doug Bollinger having played just two Tests and Clint McKay in line for a debut in Perth if Siddle is unable to prove his fitness.

Chappell did not disagree with the claims made by his former Test team-mate Geoff Lawson that there were times when bowlers, particularly young pace men, did not bowl enough to prepare them for the rigours of first-class and international cricket.

Chappell claimed the issue was more complicated than simply bowling more.

"There's a whole range of issues. I wouldn't disagree with that (Lawson's assessment) but again it's not a matter of throwing the baby out with the bath water and saying 'OK everyone is going to bowl more because it will create problems we don't want. It's a management process that's being devised as we speak that will hopefully allow for more bowlers bowling at periods when they are capable of doing it, backing off around growth spurts and other risk times, be aware of the warning signs," he said.

Australia's strength and conditioning coach Stuart Karppinen, a former West Australian fast bowler, claimed pace bowlers were usually able to handle programs of eight to 10 weeks before workload issues began creating problems.

Australia has been on the road for almost seven months. "There's a bit of criticism about the guys being a bit fragile and there's a few opinions floating around about it but there''s no conspiracy theories about it. It's simply down to the amount of cricket we've been playing," Karppinen said.

Source: ANI