The Difference in Neuromuscular Fatigue and Workload During Competition and Training in Elite Cricketers

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: First, to assess changes in neuromuscular function via alterations in countermovement-jump strategy after training and 2 forms of competition and second, to compare the relationship between workloads and fatigue in seam bowlers and nonseam bowlers. Methods: Twenty-two professional cricketers’ neuromuscular function was assessed at baseline, immediately post and +24 h posttraining, and after multiday and 1-day cricket events. In addition, perceptual (rating of perceived exertion [RPE] and soreness) measures and external loads (PlayerLoad™, number of sprints, total distance, and overs) were monitored across all formats. Results: Seam bowlers covered more distance, completed more sprints, and had a higher RPE in training (P < .05), without any difference in soreness compared with nonseam bowlers. Compared with seam bowlers, the nonseam bowlers’ peak force decreased post-24 h compared with baseline only in 1-d cricket (95% CI, 2.1–110.0 N; P < .04). There were no pre–post training or match differences in jump height or alterations in jump strategy (P > .05). Seam bowlers increased their peak jumping force from baseline to immediately posttraining or game (95% CI, 28.8–132.4 N; P < .01) but decreased between postcricket to +24 h (95% CI, 48.89–148.0 N; P < .001). Conclusion: Seam bowlers were more accustomed to high workloads than nonseamers and thus more fatigue resistant. Changes in jump height or strategy do not appear to be effective methods of assessing fatigue in professional crickets. More common metrics such as peak force are more sensitive.

Cooke, Outram, and Keenan are with the Dept of Life Sciences, University of Derby, Derby, United Kingdom. Brandon is with England and Wales Cricket Board, London, United Kingdom. Waldron and Tallent are with the School of Sport Health and Applied Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, United Kingdom. Waldron is also with the School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia. Vickery is with the Dept of Sport, Health and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Tallent ( is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 148 KB)
    • Supplementary Table 2 (PDF 338 KB)