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ECB ahead in fitness monitoring

England are the No. 1 team in the world because they have the best fitness management programme among all cricket-playing countries, feels Evan Speechly, the South African physio of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya reports.

cricket Updated: Sep 26, 2011 00:26 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

England are the No. 1 team in the world because they have the best fitness management programme among all cricket-playing countries, feels Evan Speechly, the South African physio of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The best that the rest can do is follow the English example, Speechly told HT on Sunday. India, it appears, have a long way to go.

“I am not surprised that England are No. 1 in the world, purely based on what their medical facilities are,” said Speechly, who has been a physio for 27 years.

Cricketers now play around the world for different teams. The ECB ensures it remains in touch with all physios under whom its players play.

“If English cricketers come to my team — like Kevin Pietersen or Eoin Morgan — their physio or doctor will get hold of me, they’ll tell me where the players’ shortcomings are and what exercises we need to do to ensure they don’t break down,” said Speechly.

The same cannot be said of the BCCI however. “I haven't heard a word from the BCCI about Virat Kohli, for example. I have no idea what his injury history has been over the last four months. And the same applies to AB de Villiers from South Africa, I don't know anything about him.”

In fact, cricket authorities in New Zealand and Sri Lanka have been more pro-active.

“The New Zealand physio has got hold of me about Daniel Vettori as did the physio for Sri Lanka about (Tillakaratne) Dilshan,” said Speechly. However, Speecly can see positives in the way the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore has been functioning.

“They are working on it. It was nice to see Virender Sehwag (shoulder) and Ashish Nehra (finger) coming down here (for their rehab). Zak (Zaheer Khan; hamstring and ankle) will be coming here shortly. Cheteshwar Pujara (knee) is doing superb rehab here. I am very impressed that someone like 'Puj' is brought down here regularly and at BCCI's cost to ensure he follows proper rehab.”