When it comes to fitness in cricket, the Aussies rank above the rest. No doubt that they believe it’s the fittest who survives. That’s the impression
got after speaking to former Australia head-strength and conditioning coach Jock Campbell.
“They certainly are the fittest side in the world today,” said Campbell from Bangalore, where he is busy with Indian Cricket League’s fitness camp. He did not shy away from speaking about the current Australian team.
“They are an extremely strong side and the fact that they are still the No. 1 ODI and Test side proves that. Of the current lot, I would say Stuart Clark is the fittest. Then you can’t ignore Brett Lee. He did not play in India earlier (in 2001 and 2004) but this time he is gunning for glory. Then there is Mitchell Johnson, who has got the goods to perform here.”
The man who was associated with the team from 2000 to 2005 said he had worked with almost all the members of the current squad. “Apart from Bryce McGain, I have worked with everyone, including Jason Krejza. He has done well back home and playing against India would be a good test for him.”
Bowlers apart, he praised Simon Katich, Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden.
“I am still in touch with Hayden and Clarke. Clarke is an outstanding player and I must say his fitness levels are very high.”
Recalling Clarke’s training programme Campbell said, “He would start gym as early as six in the morning and then play golf till midday. Amazingly, even after that he was far from being tired.”
He admitted that getting used to the climate in India remains a challenge for touring sides. “Heat has been a factor. But the current lot is better equipped to handle the situation. They come prepared and of course, often you would find these players touring India, which makes things all the more easier. We Aussies can adapt better to Indian conditions than other players.”
Campbell also spoke about the science of training. “We not only have personalised trainers but also use dieticians, doctors and physios to maximum effect. And this is the case at the domestic level too.”
Comparing those techniques with that of India, he said, “You can say India is at least 10 years behind when it comes to the bio-mechanics of training. I can’t say about the national team but at the domestic level a lot needs to be done.”
Citing an example, he said, “We use bio-mechanics for avoiding injuries.
“Bowlers use a specially built foot-supporting device to prevent shin injuries during practice. We also study every ball the bowler bowls, every stroke a batsman plays and analyse them.”
Campbell is using most of these techniques at the training camp and plans to open a sports academy in India, on the lines of his own academy in Sydney.