It does seem, judging by their performances in the first Test, that the MaxiMilk Kids (Broad and Finn) may have benefited from their period of Strengthening and Conditioning that I was discussing the other day – (see here).
On the other hand Fred Flintoff’s latest return after an operation has been postponed yet again. Some older players continue to believe that today’s quicks lack the staying power of their predecessors. Certainly one Yorkshire fast bowler from the ‘thirties – Bill Bowes – seems to have possessed quite remarkable powers of recuperation, if his autobiography Express Deliveries (Sportsmans Book Club, 1958) is to be believed.
Bowes is reticent about the nutritional aspect of his training regime. We do learn that, when he was first offered a contract with MCC, his father advised –
“‘Yon lad will have to get something inside himself for that job’ he kept saying, and he prescribed two raw eggs every morning before breakfast. He superintended this part of my diet himself, and occasionally he would beat them in milk, or, ‘just for a change’, add a touch of sauce to make prairie oysters.”
A little later
“An eminent specialist said to me ‘You need to replace what you lose – sweating as you must do when bowling ; take a glass of beer or two. Take plenty of salt with your food, too.”
Now this is all well and good – raw eggs, beer and plenty of salt. But not, in itself, enough to explain the bowler’s ability to recover from an operation between innings of an Ashes Test and take five wickets, as apparently occurred during the deciding Test at the Oval in 1934. But he did have a little help –
“I was whisked into hospital for an operation after the Australian innings closed for 701 and was not able to bat in England’s reply of 321. I’m not being facetious – I know it would have made no difference. Much more to be point, I was able, having been stuffed with cocaine, to come and bowl in Australia’s second innings. I took five wickets for 35, had no pain of any description and could not understand the fuss which was made.”
“Stuffed with cocaine” eh?
Now the English physio will know what to do if young Finn starts falling over again during a hard day’s bowling at the Gabba over the Winter.