Cricket: Pain drain on Atherton
Wednesday 18 November 1998
Atherton suffers from a hereditary condition known as ankylosing spondylitis, which cripples tens of thousands of people in Britain and also ended the football career of his father Alan. He had a spinal operation nine years ago to cure the complaint, although frequent recurrences have plagued him ever since.
Given the back trouble throughout his Test career, Morton believes Atherton's successes will be respected all the more when he decides his appetite for the game is no longer enough of a motivation.
"He bats in an awful lot of discomfort," Morton said. "I'm sure when he goes out of the game he will be thought of by other people and his peers as a little bit of a hero after the kind of discomfort he has played in."
The latest setback followed cortisone injections in Adelaide to enable him to play in the drawn game against South Australia, but their failure to provide nothing more than temporary relief prompted Morton to set up an appointment with the renowned back specialist Bill Ryan here yesterday.
Atherton was given a further injection and scan in a separate area of the back in an attempt to determine the nature of the problem and if that fails to work, further rehabilitation and rest followed by another injection could be required.
"We hope we will establish a cure rather than just a temporary relief with the injection," explained Morton, who joined England's casualty list by dislocating his right shoulder during a light fielding practice. "We were hoping initially that we would not have to progress to stage two, but as he is obviously suffering a little we thought we would give it a go and see if we could actually knock it on the head while we are down here."
However, Atherton is not the only casualty occupying Morton in the days leading up to the start of the Ashes series, following the attack on John Crawley in Cairns on Sunday which resulted in the Lancashire batsman suffering cuts and bruises. "It's a very unfortunate incident which John regrets and is embarrassed about, but it is a sign of the times and it does happen in the world," said Morton. "You get an innocent walking down the street and an idiot decides to give him a smack. That's exactly what happened and no more than that. It's a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's got away lightly because those sort of incidents can turn nasty and he's got away with some bad facial cuts, but hopefully no long-term scars."
Graham Gooch, the England manager, added: "John wants to forget the incident, concentrate on his cricket and is looking forward to the big match here on Friday - we really don't want to keep bringing this up now, we want to divert all our energy and concentration into this Test match."
Australia go into this Ashes series as perhaps the most successful side in history, according to Wisden. They are top of the Wisden World Championship, which awards two points for winning a series and one for a draw, with 25 points out of a possible 28. By back-dating the records to 1952, when Pakistan began playing Tests, only Richie Benaud's Australian team of the early 1960s and the West Indians of the 1980s were found to have remotely comparable records.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal have 'too many strikers' claims Arsene Wenger, despite admitting Lukas Podolski is 'not a real centre-forward'
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger says he will be 'actively involved' on deadline day... but may not buy a striker despite Giroud injury
Fernando Torres to AC Milan: Jose Mourinho talks up Mattia Destro with Torres on verge of Chelsea exit
Mario Balotelli has been 'spoken to at length' and Liverpool have ensured he lives on Merseyside rather than Manchester
Tottenham vs Liverpool: Hugo Lloris expects Spurs to wipe away shame of 4-0 and 5-0 defeats last season
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 3 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...