Ashley Giles caused some controversy earlier this week when he spoke about the possibility of getting rid of warm-up football in the England cricket squad.
It came after Jonny Bairstow picked up an injury playing in the build-up to two tests in Sri Lanka last year.
Now Ben Foakes is in possession of the wicket keeper gloves – and that football injury has cost Bairstow. It could end up seeing him miss out on the World Cup squad when the tournament kicks off in May.
But should football be blamed?
It’s been a tradition for English cricket players to warm up with some football in the days building up to games.
A host of players have actually shown an ability to kick the football about almost as well as they throw, bat or catch their own cricket ball.
Ian Botham was so good he actually played 11 games for Scunthorpe in 1980s, while Chris Balderstone was one of the last sportsmen to play football and cricket at a high level at the same time.
Phil Tufnell, Mark Ramprakash and Freddie Flintoff are all high profile examples of English cricketers with a love for football – whether or not they were good enough to actually play it properly though.
The fact is football is a sport many cricketers love – and the fact it’s been played traditionally while on international duty, suggests it’s continued to be popular among the squad.
Not just for fitness or a workout, but the help it gives in building squad unity and togetherness.
Giles, himself, admitted that per dailymail.co.uk, saying: “If you look at what football does, the benefits from a psychological and fun point of view are outstripped by the dangers. But we will discuss it.”
Even Giles knows how much it brings. After all, he was once an England international and would have participated in football games before big test matches.
You only have to watch this video of England’s cricket stars – who go up against West Indies later this month and you can see England cricket betting here – playing football over the years to see how good they are, how serious they take it and how much they enjoy playing:
Of course, injuries come with the territory, but what’s to say injuries wouldn’t happen if they did something different to football to prepare for their own matches?
It’s a shame that Bairstow’s injury has had an impact on his cricket career and it should lead to some caution during any football games to come.
But football warm-ups are part and parcel of England cricket and it would be a real shame if this was to change.