Sam Collins: England's handling of Anderson injury a classic mess

So James Anderson cracked a rib boxing on England’s post-season ‘bootcamp’ in Bavaria.

The ECB expect him to be fit for the first Test in Brisbane, but it’s still a colossal cock-up.

But the worst thing about the whole affair is not Anderson’s injury, it is England’s handling of the situation.

Sixteen players went to Germany, as far as we know 15 have returned unharmed. Yes, Anderson may not have got injured if the players had not been boxing, or even at the camp, but he may as easily have twisted a knee falling down the stairs. Injuries happen.

England have been here before of course, when Joe Denly was pole-axed by Owais Shah in a game of warm-up football.

What rankles is that Anderson’s injury has emerged through a tabloid exclusive, rather than official word from the ECB about an injury that happened three weeks ago.

When were they planning to announce it? In Brisbane? And what were they going to blame it on?

Now it just looks like England panicked in the face of a possible media backlash. But by attempting to keep it quiet they look even sillier. It is their second communication embarrassment in six weeks, after Kevin Pietersen’s slightly more vocal twitter salvo.

Sadly what it does do is call into question Andy Flower’s decision-making, both to have the camp in the first place after a gruelling summer, and then suppressing Anderson’s injury from the public.

Teams rely on strong leadership, especially when away from home for long periods. Flower’s strength of character and decisive decision-making have been a feature of his excellent start in the job. It has already brought an Ashes win and England’s first major limited-over success in the World Twenty20.

We can’t be sure of whether the decision to withhold information was taken specifically by Flower or the ECB, but either way there are shades of the pre-World Cup Capello index, when a previously unimpeachable coach made an inexplicable error in judgement.

With Capello that mistake turned out to be instructive – we all know how that World Cup turned out. Flower has shown enough to give us good reason to hope that this is just a blip ahead of a series when his leadership will need to be at its most imperious.

Sam Collins is website editor of thewisdencricketer.com

Follow him on twitter @wisdencric_sam

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6 Responses to Sam Collins: England's handling of Anderson injury a classic mess

  1. Any idea who was Anderson boxing against??

  2. Paddy Briggs says:

    Re-arrange into a well-known phrase or saying:

    in
    ECB
    Piss-up
    Manage
    Couldn’t
    Brewery
    a

  3. Den Browne says:

    Shridhar – It was Chris Tremlett I believe… This is just so absurd: I’d have thought that what players needed most between a hectic season & a crucial Ashes tour is time away from cricket (& darfe I say it, each other). Instead the “Team England” set-up now has so many hangers on who have to justify their presence with new initiatives, like this latest “bonding” exercise. What the players were meant to get from boxing matches & a trip to Dachau is beyond me.

  4. Jackie says:

    What they got from it is that Flower is telling them he is boss. That is not going to sit comfortably with some of the players. KP?

  5. Den Browne says:

    Good point Jackie … To me the most important thing is that we don’t start off with another Brisbane thrashing, so what happens? Our main strike bowler gets hurt on some alpha-male nonsense like this.

  6. Christian_in_DC says:

    Agree with Den Browne. The team leave for Oz in a few days. The ODIs seem like they just ended…then the boot camp…I think the lads need a bit of rest. Does not look like they will get it.