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The panel will now look into all injuries of players, as was the practice earlier. The last time the BCCI consulted with Dr. Anant Joshi, the panel’s head, was in 2008 when Yuvraj Singh injured his knee during the Australia tour. However, en route to becoming the No.1 team in world cricket, the BCCI had stopped consulting the panel and invested all powers in India physiotherapist Nitin Patel and the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
“The board had stopped using the services of the medical panel but we are now thinking of availing their help again. The England tour has clearly come as a lesson to all of us,” a top BCCI official said.
Interestingly, it was Joshi, the man who famously healed Sachin Tendulkar’s elbow injury and many others, who said the BCCI needed to rethink its planning before things got worse. Joshi will be writing a letter to the Indian board suggesting them to set up a medical panel which will monitor player injuries and not rely fully on the physiotherapist.
“I’m planning to write a letter to BCCI stating to them the importance of a medical team. I don’t know what is being done at the NCA or what physios are doing. Being the ‘so-called’ consultant, I have never been consulted in the last couple of years,” Joshi told The Indian Express.
Joshi said that during Andrew Leipus’ tenure as the Indian team physio, he was regularly consulted and was kept in the loop about players’ injuries. The Australian physio made sure that every single point of players’ fitness was known to Joshi. However, according to the well-known orthopaedic surgeon, things aren’t the same anymore. He criticised Nitin Patel, who has been the Indian team’s physio for the last two years, for lacking the right approach in player rehabilitation.
“Helping players recover from injuries all depends on teamwork. Proper communication is required. Now I’m seeing that every single player is being sent to England for recovery or expert advice. The new physio seems to be lacking professionalism. Had he worked properly then we wouldn’t have seen so many injuries in England,” Joshi added.
Even some of the Indian board members are not happy with the way the NCA has been functioning. The NCA has a full panel which monitors injuries but they came under the scanner when Zaheer Khan suffered a hamstring pull on Day One of the Lord’s Test, while Virender Sehwag saw a recurrence of his shoulder problem. “This will happen when your report card is submitted by a compounder and not a doctor. That is why we will be raising the matter in the working committee meeting before the board’s AGM,” a BCCI official said.
Joshi said he would be around whenever BCCI wanted his services but said that the board would need to change a few things if they want to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again. “Orthopaedics are in a better position to talk about injuries, while physios are the ones who see that things run smoothly thereafter,” he said.