Fast bowlers' IPL exploits cause more injuries, warns surgeon

EXCLUSIVE: Leading UK knee surgeon warns that fast bowlers’ IPL exploits are causing more preventable injuries than ever – after operating on Ashes hero Chris Woakes

  • Andy Williams performed surgery on Woakes and a number of ex-internationals 
  • The IPL’s reach and lucrative contracts have made it a desired destination 
  • But Williams warns of a rise in recurrent problems particularly for fast bowlers 

One of the UK’s leading knee surgeons has warned English cricket to urgently address an overload on its pace bowlers sparked by the IPL which is causing more preventable injuries than ever.

Andy Williams, who was used by 18 of the 20 Premier League clubs last season, performed surgery on Ashes hero Chris Woakes and has been used by a number of ex-internationals including Andrew Flintoff and Sachin Tendulkar.

The past decade has seen Williams notice a recurrence of overload injuries. In the last year England have to contend with problems to a plethora of their fast bowlers, including Jofra Archer, Olly Stone and Ben Stokes.

Archer has missed this summer due to a recurring stress fracture to his right elbow, Stone has suffered hamstring and knee issues, and Stokes has battled on despite a sustained knee problem.

The surgeon believes the ever-expanding global Twenty20 circuit is an issue that the sport must tackle for the long-term health of its cricketers.

Andy Williams warns that IPL participation will cause more preventable injuries to fast bowlers such as Jofra Archer, who has missed much of the summer due to a recurrent stress fracture

Ben Stokes featured in the IPL in 2023 and battled through injury concerns during the Ashes

He told Mail Sport: ‘Cricket is a nightmare. Since the IPL, cricketers can earn a good living. The top ones get just two weeks off a year from not playing cricket which is unbelievable. So I’m seeing injuries now that we never used to see in cricket, in particular with bowlers.

‘We’re seeing overload where the body can’t heal itself in time. It’s only the top players because they get so much exposure to play.

‘To bowl quick, your front leg when you strike has to be jammed straight. As you jam it straight, the front of the femur hits the tibia. In that moment, the tibia keeps knocking the femur which creates a little hole. The ACL also gets slightly pulled. The scenario of overload wears bits out.

‘There’s probably about 20 cricketers a season I keep seeing with recurring problems related to playing too much. These are the top elite cricketers (in the world).

‘We’re going to have to learn how to manage it. It never used to happen, but it is now a recurring problem.’

Williams has previously operated on Chris Woakes, and a number of ex-international cricketers

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