Australians blame IPL for Hayden injury

May 30th, 2008 - 1:46 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 30 (IANS) The Australians have found a stick to beat the Indian Premier League (IPL) with. They feel that the injury to their premier batsman Mathew Hayden is the result of excessive cricket, especially during the Twenty20 tournament that is reaching its climax this weekend. Hayden complained of the injury at the team’s pre-tour camp in Brisbane earlier this month, but it’s understood the problem is more the result of wear and tear than a sudden setback, reports the Herald Sun.

Clearly, the four matches he played for Chennai Super Kings, scoring 189 runs at an average of 63 off 131 balls, were enough to do some damage and effectively stop the champion opening batsman from fulfilling his contractual obligations to his primary employer, Cricket Australia (CA), the report says.

Hayden is - or was - a cricketing ironman, and has played at times more on will than fitness.

But his serious achilles tendon - a long-time issue - flared while playing in the IPL, the report says.

The IPL is a Twenty20 tournament that may have transformed player payments, and be all the rage in India, but one that very few people are talking about in Australia.

It’s a tournament that, in Australia at least, no one really cares who wins.

Even the most ardent cricket supporters would struggle to name the four semi-finalists, let alone know that West Australian Shaun Marsh is the leading run-scorer.

The report says the Australian board Cricket Australia (CA) had little choice but to appease the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and allow its superstars to take part in the IPL - albeit briefly.

Australia’s players wanted to take part at any cost, though they were to receive only a portion of their bidding prices because of international commitments.

The report quoted a CA official as saying Thursday: “cricket isn’t just a sport any more”.

“And who is to say this won’t happen again? This could become a major problem,” he added, referring to Hayden’s injury.

Hayden remains one of the top five CA players, and would earn about $1 million a year in base payments, match fees and prize money.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen gave cautious approval to allowing his leading men to take part in an IPL tournament that requires plenty of high-stress activity for a 36-year-old such as Hayden, when batting and on the field.

The report says it’s a move that has backfired badly.

Just last week team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said “at least half” the Australian squad had tendon problems.

Just who he was referring to wasn’t divulged. But would that have been the case had all players taken a two-month rest after what was a gruelling home summer, as Michael Clarke did, the report asks.

CA spokesman Peter Young believes that the risks of releasing players to the IPL are the same as the once-traditional pilgrimage to England every winter.

The one difference, though, is that Hayden had no interest in a stint of county cricket.

“Matthew has had achilles tendinitis for quite a long while and people are used to him packing it with ice,” Young said.

“If he had stayed home cooling his heels, the medicos say there is still a chance that he could still have had exactly the same outcome.”

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