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