Why Ian Botham is wrong about cricket fitness
You have to hand it to Beefy, he sticks to his guns long after he has finished playing. When it comes to cricket fitness though, he is wrong.
The offence in question was a comment he made during the World Cup Super 8 match between New Zealand and Bangladesh. A New Zealand bowler had hurt his calf in a similar way to Australia's Shane Watson so the commentators were discussing why this would happen twice in a row.
The great man, never one for fitness training while he was a player, put it down to the gym.
Watson, he argued, was too muscular with short, stiff muscles which made them more likely to break.
This is poppycock.
Strong muscles that are trained with weights are not made any shorter or less mobile than muscles trained by just playing cricket.
In fact, study after study has shown that stronger muscles, ligaments and tendons actually reduce the risk of injury while playing sport.
Sorry Both. You are barking up the wrong tree there.
Why Ian Botham is right about cricket fitness
I don't want to write of the greatest English all-rounder ever though. He did make some good points too.
You do need to play cricket because fitness is highly specific. You can't just do weight training. You need to be athletic, fast and mobile and that means training in that way with efficient warm ups, 'general sport' training and lots of skill practice.
You also can't train too much at the wrong time. Overtraining does increase your risk of injury if you don't give your body time to recover between training and playing. An intense plyometric session the day before the match or training/playing 7 days a week is a recipe for an injury.
So Ian Botham was wrong that the gym makes players weak and inflexible. Of course it doesn't! He was right too you do need to be highly specific and focussed while getting adequate rest.