Matthew Hayden recently unveiled how during the boot camp in the lead-up to the 2006-07 Ashes clean sweep, Shane Warne, a fierce critic of John Buchanan's methods, sat in a ditch during one night of grueling exercises saying: "I'm weak, I'm soft and I want to go home."

It was the camp that threatened to divide the Australian cricket team back - a punishing four days in the Queensland bush that was designed to boost the bond between players.

Yesterday, news filtered out that James Anderson is a major doubt for the first Ashes Test after it emerged he suffered a broken rib while boxing during England’s recent team bonding trip to Germany.


Anderson is England’s strike bowler – with due respect to Graeme Swann – and losing him to injury will be a bitter blow for the England management. It also brings into question the wisdom of the trip to Germany which was unpopular with several members of the squad, coming as it did at the end of a demanding summer.

Now just why would you engage players in a boxing bout?

It is one thing to travel to Galipoli and the Somme and Flanders Field, but exerting physical pressure on the very players who served you so spectacularly all year? Granted Messrs Flower and Strauss – sounds like a botanical garden – haven’t done much wrong over the past 12 months, but this just isn’t cricket.


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