These injuries cannot be attributed to fitness. However, the other injuries indicate that the players’ match fitness is not good enough.
Compared to India, the Australians in the test series had only lost David Warner to a soft tissue injury – groin – and he somehow regained fitness for the last two tests.
Importantly, Australia’s four frontline bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon – threw 435.1 overs in the first three Tests and are fit enough to play the fourth Test.
Aside from those four, they’ve tried two more in Cameron Green and Marnus Labuschagne, which only threw nine overs through the series.
In contrast, India has tried up to 10 bowlers. Among them, Ashwin, Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj are the only ones to have bowled over 100 overs each. Two of these, Ashwin and Bumrah, are not suitable.
However, Umesh and Saini have only bowled 39.4 and 36.5 overs respectively, which is why their injuries are even more surprising.
This is in addition to the fitness concerns for their hitters.
Nishanta Bordoloi, who was the fitness trainer with the Delhi Ranji Trophy Team and also worked at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, points out that the possible reason is not enough cricket.
“Because of the pandemic, bowlers probably didn’t have enough overs under their belts before a grueling test series like this one. Immediately after seven months without cricket there was a sudden increase in the workload for all cricketers. They were playing IPL and then suddenly I entered the test series “I’m not sure how much work they put in before that, but the sudden surge in workload can lead to injuries,” he said.