Australia are likely to play three pacemen in the opening Test against Pakistan in the UAE, but team physio Alex Kountouris is preparing 8-10 to be ready.
Death, taxes and young fast bowlers breaking down.
Australia’s world No.1 Test side next plays in October, but Cricket Australia has already mapped out management plans for eight to 10 pacemen.
The rationale is simple – 40 per cent of CA’s injury woes can be related to workload issues.
And any last-minute call-ups for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates risk boosting that number.
“We ask for something between eight and 10 (fast bowlers to work with), depending on whether some of those in the group have niggling injuries and potentially won’t make it,” team physio Alex Kountouris said.
“(If bowlers were preparing for the domestic one-day tournament instead of the UAE) they wouldn’t be ready and we know they’d be at risk.
“Players on the fringe … are preparing right now as if they’re going to play in the UAE.”
The most recent summer was a resounding success for Australia, but also Kountouris and team doctor Peter Brukner.
Quicks Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris were fit enough to play every Test in the 5-0 Ashes thumping of England, while overall injury rates across the country were down.
“A lot of credit’s got to go to WA, Victoria and Queensland – who looked after Johnson, Siddle and Harris unbelievably well leading up to that first Test,” Kountouris said, also pointing to the fact the trio were older bowlers.
Kountouris briefed media on Tuesday about recent research into the issue, noting workload, age and technique remain the three factors in fast-bowling injuries.
Those under the age of 25 remain at significant risk of stress fractures.
“We believe that’s because the bone just doesn’t mature fully until it’s 25,” Brukner explained.
“These guys are very vulnerable if they’re playing four and five-day cricket.
“It almost seems inevitable … they’ll get stress factures at some point in their career.”
Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson are among the young pace aces to be beset by injury in recent years.
Kountouris and Brukner agreed blanket restrictions on overs or games would be foolish for pacemen under the age of 25.
“You need to take each case individually,” Brukner said.