Independent Television sports reporter Rubaid Mahbub checks up World Cup history to see what injuries kept some of cricket’s brightest stars from breaking records in previous tournaments
Michael Hussey, Nathan Hauritz, Eoin Morgan, Praveen Kumar and of course Mashrafe Mortaza. These are some of the names who will be missing out cricket’s biggest event this year due to the demon called INJURY!
Not seeing a fully fit Mashrafe Mortaza in action could well be one of the biggest disappointments as a Bangladeshi spectator, but I am not going to talk about this anymore, as I feel enough has been said and written already about this brave young man from Narail and his injury! Instead, I am going to tell you about some famous and at times bizarre injury incidents. Some injuries made big names miss out on big occasions and some would make you giggle or make you feel pity for the poor soul. So here we go!
Waqar Younis: The legendary fast bowler missed out on his country’s biggest achievement in sports, when Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992. The charismatic Imran Khan and his green machines brought the cup back to the subcontinent without their fastest bowler. Waqar was suffering from a stress fracture of the back. However, the records suggest World Cups and Waqar, fondly known as ‘Burewala Express’, never got along very well. He participated in three World Cups 1996, 1999 and 2003 and took 22 wickets in 15 matches.
Brett Lee: Australia’s fastest bowler missed the 2007 edition of the World Cup in the Caribbean. After a wonderful show at the 2003 World cup, where he picked up 22 wickets in 10 matches, an ankle injury forced Lee to become a spectator at Australia’s third consecutive World Cup triumph. At 34, ‘Binga’, is back for, perhaps, his last World Cup bash this time…way to go mate!
Shoaib Akhter: The fiery Pakistan pacer missed a lot of cricket due to injuries throughout his career though the reason for missing out the 2009 T20 World Cup was personal. The Pakistan Cricket Board very honestly revealed why he was left out of the squad that year. The board put out a press release stating that the ’speedstar’ player was suffering from genital warts! A very embarrassed Akhter considered suing the board!
Dennis Lillee: One of the greatest fast bowlers of all time Lillee, broke down on Australia’s 1972-73 tour of the Caribbean, after fighting back problems for over a year. He was able to return after months of treatment and a remodelled action, which considerably cut off his fearsome pace. A famous story goes that ahead of the 1974-75 Ashes, England players went to watch Lillee in the nets and left after a few minutes, convinced that he was a shadow of his former self. Lillee took 25 wickets in that series as England, drowned 4-1, were destroyed by the pace and hostility of Lillee and Jeff Thomson.
Sachin Tendulkar: Yes, he too had to suffer like a mere mortal! Sachin is in his 22nd year as a professional cricketer and missed just three Tests and 45 ODIs in his first 15 years of playing. Then came the infamous tennis elbow in 2004 and turned sports pages into medical dictionaries in India. It kept Sachin out some very high-profile contests, including the Champions Trophy and half of the Test series against Australia.
Shane Bond: At his peak and when he was fully fit, he was the best fast bowler in the world. But, unfortunately for the Black Caps, his success came at a very high price. Bond’s body was barely able to cope with the strains of fast bowling. He played only 82 ODIs in a career span of nearly 8 years. In his only World Cup appearance in 2003, he took 17 wickets in just 8 matches.