View Full Version : Physio's feel the ashes heat

02-09-2005, 08:53 AM
Alcott & Russell (the Australian and English physios respectively) would be having a few sleepless nights no doubt. Are they providing the best treatment for their players? Glen McGrath's elbow, Tait's shoulder, Jones' ankle. Pressure's on to get the best results in a very short period. PubMed would definitely be getting a working over.

McGrath's fate in Alcott's hands
By Andrew Ramsey in London
September 2, 2005

OF all the head-to-head battles during this Ashes series, few could boast as much significance as the outcome of the "duelling physios".

The Australian camp is relying on the touch of the long-serving Errol Alcott to remedy Glenn McGrath's elbow complaint so the team's best fast bowler can withstand a five-day Test match.

Just how realistic that outcome is will be revealed today when McGrath, 35, is due to bowl in the nets at Chelmsford, his first full training stint since the problem flared two weeks ago.

Should he show encouraging signs, he will play a limited role in this weekend's two-day match against Essex and then a judgment will be made on whether he will play in the fifth Test, starting next Thursday at The Oval.

Alcott's biggest concern is the risk of McGrath having a recurrence of the injury - the result of a bone fragment at the back of his right elbow - that would render him half (or even less) effective as a bowler and severely curtail Australia's Test attack.

But countering any conservatism from the medical room is the fact Australia boasts a significantly increased chance of winning with McGrath in the side.

One only need examine the results of this remarkable series to date. The first Test in which McGrath was fully fit, Australia won convincingly. In the third when he played but under difficulty because of an ankle injury, Australia escaped with the draw.

Both the Tests he has missed, at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, have been won by England.

Not only does McGrath exert great pressure on opposition batsmen with his accuracy and ability to keep homing in on their weaknesses, he helps the other members of the Australian attack. Unable to score or find a release when McGrath is operating, batsmen invariably take greater risks against his bowling partner.

Understandably, Australia will leave a final ruling on McGrath's availability until as close to the Test as necessary although it is unlikely to follow the trend of the past two when he has undergone fitness examinations on the morning of the game.

Former Australia batsman Dean Jones labelled that practice "selfish" and called on McGrath to put the team's interests before his own. "If he wants to do another fitness test two days out from the fifth Test, I'll kick his bum because it's distracting everyone," Jones told Sydney radio station 2KY. "How can you have a fitness test on the morning of a match?"

Meanwhile, England's physiotherapist Kirk Russell is pinning his hopes on the healing powers of a hyperbaric (decompression) chamber to allow key fast bowler Simon Jones to recover from an injury to his right ankle.

Jones has a painful impingement problem at the front of the joint and would represent a significant risk if passed to play in such an important match.

He is not in McGrath's class but, like his Australian counterpart, is crucial to England's strategy as shown by his return of 18 wickets at 21 runs apiece from 3 Tests (his injury restricted him to just four overs in the second innings at Trent Bridge).

Jones' ability to gain reverse swing from the older ball has been a decisive factor in the past three Tests, although The Oval is not renowned for the strange science.

Equally telling has been the 28-year-old Welshman's uncanny knack of picking up wickets at the start of his spells, most often with the first ball of a fresh stint at the crease. Not only does that have a decidedly unsettling effect on the batting line-up, but it has proved a major rallying point for the England team which takes great strength from Jones' immediate impact.

Should he be ruled out, England will be forced to make its first selection change of the series and take a substantial punt on his replacement.

A leading candidate is regular 12th man Chris Tremlett, who was impressive in his one-day international debut this season but has no experience in the Test arena.

06-09-2005, 12:09 PM
I hear McGrath is struggling. Great move to bring in Clark, I think he could do the Job, very classy bowler, very similar plan to McGrath.