Fitness is a key necessity for a player to have a long career in cricket now. Without having high fitness levels, it has become extremely difficult for a player to succeed in international cricket.
Especially in Test cricket, where a batsman looks to bat for long periods of time while a bowler would want to be delivering high intensity spells in this third, fourth and later spells. Fielding, too, has become a determining factor.
Some cricketers have suffered immense difficulties regarding their fitness but still not only played international cricket, but also attained success at it.
Here we look at 5 such players:
The desired positioning of the ball in the hand is of utmost importance for a fast bowler. However, for Pat Cummins, even holding the ball was a challenge as a child. Because of a painful finger injury which cut the upper part of his middle finger when his sister slammed the door on it when they were children.
Despite this, Cummins picked up fast bowling and at the age of 18 he was given his Test debut in 2011. He was Man of the Match on his Test debut for his six-wicket haul against South Africa.
However, then came a plethora of injuries that kept him out of the Test arena for 6 long years. He made his comeback in 2017 and didn’t look back, going on to become the number ranked Test bowler.
Nicholas Pooran is a rising star in West Indies cricket and has been promoted as the T20 vice-captain. Known for his destructive abilities with the bat, Pooran, was once not even sure of walking again after he met with a horrific accident in 2015.
As a 19-year-old Pooran suffered a dreadful road accident in Trinidad and had to undergo leg surgeries on both legs. After the surgery, Pooran was in a wheelchair for months. It took him almost a year to get in the nets again.
He returned to cricket via the CPL 2016 and then was picked up in IPL 2017. Pooran’s career graph has only progressed since.
Swashbuckling New Zealand opener Martin Guptill is known for his aggressive batting approach right from the start of the innings. However, Guptill, who is the first batsman to score a double century in a World Cup, had to come out of a painful childhood experience that left him with two toes in one leg.
At the age of 13, his foot was crushed by a forklift. Doctors tried hard to get the feet rectified, but they couldn’t and had to cut off three toes. He earned his nickname Marty Two Toes for this reason.
Despite not having three toes, Guptill worked even harder to achieve his dream of playing international cricket. He is also an incredible fielder.
Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade recently made headlines when he smashed Shaheen Afridi for three sixes in the T20 World Cup semi-final to take Australia in the final, which they won by defeating New Zealand.
Wade made his international debut in 2011 but has been in and out of the side across formats and couldn’t cement his place until last year.
He had, though, battled another major challenge off the field. Wade was only 16 when he discovered that he had testicular cancer, that too by chance after he got hit on the groin during a football game.
Wade, who played both cricket and Australian football, didn’t consider sport a professional option then and began a plumbing apprenticeship. He had to attend chemotherapy and his hair also started falling due to cancer. Cricket remained an escape for Wade as he battled and beat cancer.
India’s 2011 World Cup hero, Yuvraj Singh, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his left lung months after the conclusion of the tournament. He underwent chemotherapy in Boston and Indianapolis and was discharged in March 2012 after his third and final cycle of Chemotherapy. He returned to India in April, one year after his incredible all-rounder show had helped India lift the World Cup after 28 years.
Harbhajan Singh revealed that during the World Cup, Yuvraj used to spit out gouts of blood, but the left-hander wanted to continue playing for his country. Yuvraj made a comeback and was part of India’s 2012 T20 World Cup squad. The southpaw played international cricket till 2017.