Naseem Shah’s cramps: Over-use of fitness training may cause cramp injury say experts

Naseem Shah

On completion of the Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan, the two commentators-Wasim Akram and Irfan Pathan-were discussing how the bowlers playing at the international level in T-20I cramp when they are not supposed to bowl more than 4 overs. 

Pakistani pacer Naseem Shah was the latest victim. In his debut match, he was in terrible pain, had treatment on the field, but still bowled and won the hearts of his fans. 

“Tough fitness and practice routines can’t help a player to play better in matches, and they rather get injured or become physically incapable of competition then one has to question the use/overuse of such training loads and methods. There seems to be a trend in cricketers now to focus too much on the fitness craze, when in reality the best cricketers need not be the fittest in the gym. “, India’s sports conditioning and fitness specialist Deckline Leitao observes. 

“Though cramps in cricketers and sportspersons can occur due to heat, humidity and dehydration…overtraining and pushing the body beyond its capacity in fitness and practice can also contribute to it. This is why training too hard in practice and focusing too much on unrelated fitness should be avoided by players and coaches”, he adds.  

“Players have to remember that fitness and practice drills need to fit the requirements of the match, else it becomes wasted energy. The worst thing that a player can do to themselves is to train so hard in practice that they get injured before the competitions or cramp during matches”. 

Another trainer Ramji Srinivasan, who has worked with the Indian team in the past believes that nailing a person because of cramps is unfair. It can happen even to the fittest athletes.

“Causes for cramps are many. Very difficult to pinpoint one reason for it. It can be due to fatigue, lack of recovery or sleep, weather conditions, muscle weakness, a person prone to cramps due to excessive sweating, dehydration, lack of fitness and many more reasons can be attributed to it”.

“There are many ways to prevent it from happening again”, he says, adding, “Proper urine specific gravity testing prior to the matches can give an idea regarding the hydration status of the player and also checking the urine color, can help in keeping the players well hydrated according to the weather condition. Proper diet regime too plays an important role in the prevention of cramps”, he concluded. 


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