Bangladesh cricket has been going through a rough patch, both on and off the field. While the results have not been particularly positive on the field, injuries have been taking its toll on the players too.
Injuries to key players like Mahmudullah and Tamim Iqbal have been making news in the recent past.
Although Mahmudullah has fully recovered and is back to bowling as well, Tamim is still on the road to recovery.
On the other hand, the fast bowlers have been dealing with injuries for a while now.
Some of them are on the comeback trail - such as Taskin Ahmed and Khaled Ahmed - while some are having their workload managed - like Mustafizur Rahman - and then some are looking for specialised help from abroad - such as Mohammad Saifuddin.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) physician Dr Debashis Chowdhury spoke to The Business Standard in-depth about these injuries and how long it may take for them to return.
The left-handed opener has been struggling with a rib injury but is being targetted for a comeback in the tour to India next month.
We all remember Tamim's heroics when he came back to bat in the Asia Cup opener against Sri Lanka with a broken wrist, but since then Tamim has been injured multiple times.
Dr Debashis explained that the wrist operation Tamim had would never return his wrist mobility back to the way it used to be.
He also explained about Tamim's current injury: "Tamim currently has rib trauma. The injury takes four to six weeks to fully heal."
"However, the target is for him to play against India and that is what we are trying our best to ensure. We have extra drills and appropriate recovery methods in place for him to speed up his rehabilitation process as best as possible." Dr Debashis added.
When asked why Tamim was getting injured regularly and if the injuries were co-related Dr Debashis explained: "He's a perfectionist so perhaps putting too much effort in training on particular things could have led to the injury."
The fast-bowling all-rounder has been suffering from a long-standing back problem and might even have to remodel his action if he requires surgery.
The 22-year-old is currently seeking medical help from England before he makes any further decision and if surgery is required, it would certainly rule him out for the India tour next month.
Dr Debashis explained that fast bowlers are the cricketers that are most prone to injuries: "Bowlers like Saifuddin have been having back pain and suffering from such back injuries from a long time. Long before they made their international debut, and from the time they were 14-15 years old."
"70% of our bowlers currently are suffering from the type of back injury that Saifuddin has and we are speaking to doctors in England to seek their medical advice and see what needs to be done," the BCB physician explained.
In fact, he explained that "over 70% of the fast bowlers in England also suffer from stress fractures" and it is something that needs to be worked on and that their "workload needs to be managed carefully".
Mustafiz, Taskin and co
Fast bowlers Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed and Khaled Ahmed have also been out with injuries in the recent past.
While Mustafiz is back playing in the National Cricket League (NCL), Taskin is targeting a return to the NCL in the next round; Khaled will have to wait and his target is to play in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in December.
While these three fast bowlers have suffered different types of injuries and for different reasons, the similarities with Saifuddin's injury are there according to Dr Debashis.
"As I explained, most fast bowlers have back problems and it is something that needs to be looked at by age group coaches when they first start bowling," he said.
"The way the bowlers are bowled, the amount they are bowled and what their nutrition and diet is, are all important aspects here," Dr Debashis added.
He explained that the nutrition, diet and genetics are some of the core, key differences between why fast bowlers are more injury-prone here compared to fast bowlers abroad.
Then there is the thing where a bowler's workload needs to be managed: "A fast bowler's spell should not be more than 42 deliveries. Over-bowling him from a young age will lead to long-standing injuries and eventually make him injury-prone."
Eventually, it has to be understood that for our cricketers to be fitter and less injury-prone, the work needs to start from the grassroots.
There needs to be better standards of fitness and better facilities along with better diet and physicians that can help the players - especially the fast bowlers - at age-level cricket.
Most of these bowlers coming into the national setup are already carrying long-standing injuries and only then do they start to get the proper treatment and medical attention.
Bangladesh cricket is in dire need of fast bowlers that can bowl long-quality spells in Test cricket, but this worrying trend reveals that it will not be possible if the health and well-being of the next generation of fast-bowlers are not monitored properly.