Injury poses no hurdle for Starc at Hobart

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc will play in the second Test against South Africa, despite medical staff admitting he is ‘underdone’ in terms of fitness.

Starc missed six weeks of cricket after suffering a nasty gash to his shin, which was still slightly open when the first Test in Perth rolled around.

He had only been playing for two weeks before that, and team physio David Beakley admitted they’d usually need a player to be training for six weeks before returning to the XI.

Peter Siddle was also only recently back from injury before Perth, and he was not so lucky to escape unscathed, and will miss Hobart with a back niggle, while Josh Hazlewood had been rested.

Beakley said, as quoted on Cricinfo: “It’s well known we had two fast bowlers going into that Test who were underdone.

“Starcy played the Shield match about five and a half weeks post his knee injury, which is amazing he got back that quickly.

“Three weeks immobilised in a knee brace, a couple of weeks bowling preparation under his belt to play in the Shield match.

“It’s pretty rare in Test cricket to bowl 50 overs in a Test match and we’ve had two guys do it in this Test match.

“There’s some pretty good research around that showing you are at increased risk of injury after that.

“The fact he’s got through that amount of bowling is testament to him and his resilience.”

Beakley went on to explain how he’d normally get a paceman back to fitness: “How we do that is usually based around some of the evidence that’s come out of research that bowlers are far more likely to get injured through workload spikes.

“If you double your workload from one week to the next, you’re far more likely to get injured the following week. We know on average they’re going to bowl about 120 balls an innings, about 240 balls a Test match.

“We work back from that in the preceding weeks to build them up so they’ve got that amount of workload under their belts so they don’t spike too much in a Test.

“The body responds to a dose of exercise by increasing the resilience to the structures that are going to be put under load. Whether that’s bone, soft tissues, tendon, ligaments, whatever.

“This is a process that takes weeks, months or years in some cases to develop. It’s not something where you can say bowl this week so you’re hardened next week for a Shield match, it doesn’t work like that.

“It takes a minimum of six weeks for that hardening to occur. So we work back through what the bowler’s achieved over the previous four weeks to see what will adequately prepare them for the following week.”