Cricket: Pain drain on Atherton

THE ENGLAND physiotherapist Wayne Morton yesterday revealed the full extent of the pain and discomfort that Michael Atherton has been forced to endure from a back problem which may rule him out of contention for the first Test.

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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power