Oz officials blame IPL for player injuries
Half a dozen Australian players are carrying injuries ahead of the gruelling away series against the West Indies and the officials are blaming their participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for it.
Test opener Matthew Hayden has already been ruled out of the first Test, starting on Thursday, due to a recurring tendon problem that medical staff fear may be genetic.
Fears that the IPL could be a source of injuries for the Australian representatives appear to have been well founded. Australian physiotherapist Alex Kountouris confirmed up to half the side was carrying niggling injuries, a report in the Sydney Morning Herald said.
"To be honest, he (Hayden) is not the only one with tendon problems in the team. You would find at least half of them would have some sort of tendon injury," Kountouris said.
"They have all got little tendon things and you can throw a blanket over six or seven of them. It is a bit of luck, to be honest; some people get away with them and some don't."
Hayden's misfortune could be a gain for Brad Hodge, who was called midway from the IPL as a replacement for Michael Clarke.
"The way things are going. Hodgey could find himself in a Test spot that he might have thought passed him by," captain Ricky Ponting said.
Hayden is almost certain to miss the first Test and it is possible, he could find himself out of the three-Test series.
Hayden battled through the Australian summer with hamstring tendinitis that first flared in India last year and kept him out of the Perth Test.
Before the summer, Hayden had played 86 consecutive Tests, the seventh-longest streak in history, but there are now grave concerns the wear and tear of seven years of international cricket are rapidly catching up with the 36-year-old.
"There is a belief there might be some sort of genetic disposition to getting tendon problems," Kountouris said.
"There is a lot of research now going into genetics, looking into the gene pool and whether that has anything to do with it. It is not like a muscle strain when you can predict healing times. They don't actually heal, they sort of hang around. At the moment, he has tried running a few times and it gets stirred up, so we are trying to be as conservative as we can.
"He has had other tendon problems in the past so it wasn't a surprise."
With Hayden likely to be ruled out, Simon Katich will be promoted to opener, while Hodge will get an unlikely Test recall and bat at No 5.