Cricket: Pressure on spine of England

THE SPATE of bad backs that continue to frustrate England's tour is showing no sign of abating. If losing a Test match in two and a half days was not damaging enough to morale, the injury to Graham Thorpe's lumbar region, the latest in an alarming list of players who cannot guarantee their fitness for more than a day at a time, has rounded off a miserable week in Perth. Any more setbacks and the Samaritans' hotline could well be busy.

As the rest of the England squad enjoyed two days off, a break many used to take in the beach or a round of golf, Thorpe had treatment.

In fact, following some acupuncture on Saturday, he is much improved, and providing he comes through two workouts, as well as the flight to Melbourne, he will play against Victoria at the weekend. If not, the England management would have little option than to send him home.

It was not long ago that bad backs in cricket were thought to be exclusive to bowlers. Running, twisting, turning and generally pounding their way through the day, they were the one's that felt the surgeon's knife.

Now, with front-on bowling actions helping to minimise stress fractures, it is the batsmen, perhaps as a result of batting with the extra weight of a helmet, that are keeping osteo-paths honest. It is a precarious situation despite the 18-man squad, and if all the batsmen afflicted so far on this tour, Thorpe, Alec Stewart, Michael Atherton, Mark Butcher and Nasser Hussain, happened to wake up crocked together, England would be hard pushed to put out a side.

Uncertainty, particularly over injuries, is never a healthy way to visit Australia, one of the more demanding tours in terms of travel and intensity. These days there are fewer opportunities to recover fully and you have to be fit and robust enough to tour, as well as bat.

Thorpe's current problem has apparently nothing to do with the one he had last summer, when a cyst was removed from his lower back. According to the England physio, Wayne Morton, the exertions of the first Test, plus the seven-hour flight to Perth, simply aggravated a back still finding its way back to full fitness.

One man's misfortune is another's opportunity, however, and Graeme Hick's upgrade to full party membership, after flying over as cover for Michael Atherton in Brisbane, is yet another chance for him to resurrect a flagging career.

With Thorpe not fit for the Waca, Hick notched up his 50th Test. It was mixed affair, not unlike the man himself, and a first-innings duck was followed by a savage 68, the highest score in the match.

Providing England continue using seven batsmen, and Thorpe recovers in time for the next Test, Hick will have overtaken John Crawley in the reckoning for a berth in Adelaide. Considering that Crawley was picked in place of him after both scored hundreds against Sri Lanka, it is a cruel irony and one that will do nothing for the Lancastrian's confidence.

"Graeme played positively and took the attack to the Australians," said the England team manager, Graham Gooch. "It was the right thing to do in the circumstances. Mind you, we had essentially lost the match on the first innings. If we had scored 250 first up, it would have been a good game."

Hick is not alone here as most of England's batsmen have tended to save their best for when England have been virtually out of the match. It is a habit, which apart from being futile, must be broken if Australia's dominance is to be challenged.

To have a realistic chance of levelling the series, England need to get first-innings runs and take their catches. All other means are superfluous.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
News
news
Voices
Anthony stopped due to the lack of step free access at Mansion House
voices
Travel
Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina. Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground.
Photo Location: Brevard, North Carolina
travelGallery: The winner of National Geographic's photo contest receives $10,000
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Advisor - East Anglia - Field-based

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?