It is rather fortunate that the Australian team now brings a doctor on tour to India. No fewer than 17 players have been called to arms by the Aussie selectors in what has made them change room look more like a hospital ward.
The Australian team doctor certainly has had his work cut out for himself and if he thought that he was going to take in some sights and delights while in India he has had to think again. Both he and team physiotherapist have been the busiest people in the country assessing, treating and sending home the growing list of injured Aussie players.
On previous tours to India, the only medical assistance I had was the team physiotherapist whose job it was to administer the 'Imodium' or the local 'Dependal' in controlling loose motions. This gave him plenty of quality time poolside unlike his modern counterparts.
I have had the pleasure of medical treatment here in India and on one tour I had scans done at an outstanding Apollo Hospital. This was as good as anywhere in the world and we were given the results quickly and professionally.
There was another instance in Gwalior when during the 2003 ODI tour I received a left buttock strain courtesy a lofted drive I played in the nets. The first question is what was I doing practising my batting and secondly, and more importantly, why did I try to slog the bowler Allan Border. He was the selector on duty and doubled up as the doctor and came up with his opinion that I was ‘stuffed’. So it was off to find an x-ray machine and get a scan as to tell me why I was ‘stuffed. The most amazing journey through the back streets of Gwalior brought us to a small white concrete building with no visible windows. An upturned threewheeler, minus the wheels, was joined by a cow munching on a pile of garbage near the entrance with a small red cross suggesting that I had found it.
To my surprise inside there was a state-of-the-art x-ray machine, that established that there was a tear and it would take a week. Fortunately for me, I played a week later in Guwahati.
In total there have been nine Aussies unavailable for the sixth ODI in Guwahati. Four players didn't make the journey, five injured were sent home and the replacements have continued to trickle in. If you think that the Aussie doctor has been busy, spare a thought for the Aussie travel agent.