England bowlers, Steffan Jones, the former Somerset fast-bowler and bowling consultant of the Hobart Hurricanes, believes the issue has reached “epidemic proportions”.
“Bowlers are forced to specialise too early,” Jones wrote in a post on his LinkedIn page which he also shared with Cricbuzz. “External pressures, whether coach or parent driven stop them playing other sports at an age where they need to train the elastic qualities in the body.
“Young bowlers are pulled out to specialise at 15 or 16 years old into academies and various pathways to focus on their cricket due to the fear of acute injuries in contact sports. However, the physical traits they miss out are not inputted into their training programmes. Natural athletic training like jumping, falling, rolling, running are missed out and static, fixed plane, heavy barbell training in a stable environment are emphasised in its place. The modern-day bowlers are clones and look clunky and robotic in their bowling actions. This is a direct consequence of a lack of athleticism.”
“I don’t think bowling workload management is working,” he says. “I fully respect and understand the reasoning for it and I’m sure some would argue it has worked. However I believe by providing fixed generic guidelines to bowlers’ workloads we have a generation of fast bowlers who have no work capacity, resilience and body awareness. One year they can’t bowl more than 7 overs but then the next there are no guidelines which produce a huge workload spike which we know is a key factor in injuries.
“We need to match game regulations based on stage of maturation and not chronological age. Stopping a fully developed 15-year-old from bowling more than his or her allocated amount is insane. They may very well be ready for it as they are now post-puberty.”