10 least injury-prone cricketers in recent history
Over the years, cricketers have become far fitter than their predecessors who dominated the sport's landscape a decade ago and as such, modern cricketers are perhaps more capable of coping with adverse conditions. As a result, the number of injuries has probably gone down a fair bit, even though some cricketers still find it tough to stay fit for a sustained period.
There are some cricketers though, who have hardly ever missed games for their countries (or T20 league teams for that matter) and have proven to be extremely durable in the face of killing playing schedules. So, here is a list of some of the least injury-prone cricketers, who hardly ever miss out on games due to injuries.
#10 Rahul Dravid
Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid was in a league of his own as a batsman but what often goes under the radar is his incredible durability as a cricketer. During his 16 year career as one of the pillars of the Indian top order, spanning 164 Tests and 344 ODIs, he was hardly ever outside the squad due to any long-term chronic injury.
His immense durability and fitness levels were also the reasons why Dravid had such a long and distinguished career at the top level. At one point, he played 93 Test matches on the trot without a break in between.
#9 Kapil Dev
For a fast bowler to miss only one Test match in a career that spanned 16 years and 131 Test matches is a truly remarkable feat. However, that particular statistic is even more striking when one considers the fact that he was dropped in his 67th Test match not due to an injury but for playing a loose shot in the previous Test.
Kapil Dev was one of the fittest players of his generation and took care of his body well. It was not that he never took risks and in fact, bowled India to victory in Melbourne in 1981 while battling through a groin injury. However, injuries never took a toll on his career as a cricketer.
#8 Mike Hussey
The man who became known as 'Mr. Cricket' was also one of the most supremely fit cricketers to have played the game in recent years. He played for Australia in all three formats of the game and in addition to that, Hussey was a fixture in all the T20 franchises that he turned out for during his career.
However, injuries never bothered him and in fact, he played all 79 Test matches of his career consecutively in a career spanning eight years. He played in an age when cricketers played throughout the year across formats and hence, his achievement of staying virtually injury free is a remarkable feat.
#7 Virat Kohli
Now Virat Kohli might not have played as many Test matches or ODIs as many in this list and it is not an attempt to shoehorn him into this list, but one thing that cannot be denied is that Kohli is probably the fittest cricketer in the planet at the moment. Kohli plays Tests, ODIs, T20s and turns out for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL round the year, without ever breaking down with injuries.
Earlier this year, he did miss a Test due to a shoulder injury but that was an impact injury, which can happen to anyone. Other than that, considering his fitness levels, one can expect him to play continuously without breaking down with centuries in the years to come.
#6 Adam Gilchrist
The former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman literally did not give any respite to his opponents during the course of his 12-year international cricket career. He played 287 ODIs, 96 Tests and 12 T20Is during his illustrious career but never did he have any long injury layoff that put him out of action.
Gilchrist played 96 consecutive Test matches for the Australian national team and never missed a Test match in his career through injury or otherwise. In this regard, it must also be said that he knew exactly what he was doing on the field and hardly ever did anything awkward that could lead to injuries.
#5 Mark Waugh
Australian batting ace of the 1990s, Mark Waugh was not only one of the finest batsmen of his generation but was also one of the least injury-prone players to have played the game during its recent history. Waugh was supremely fit and was considered one of the best fielders of his era.
However, it is indeed a tribute to his technique as a batsman that in spite of playing most of Tests on fast, bouncy pitches in Australia he never really suffered any long-term impact injuries that had become the bane of many other batsmen. He played 128 Tests for Australia from 1991 to 2002 and played 107 of them consecutively from 1993 onwards. He turned out in 244 ODIs for Australia as well.
#4 Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook doesn't sweat. That is the first thing one has to know about him and why he is a bit of a freak when it comes to fitness. This particular nugget of information tumbled forth when he batted for long hours in the heat of India in 2012 without any trouble, while his team-mates suffered.
Cook plays against some of the fastest bowlers in the world since he is an opener and due to his excellent technique, he has never had to suffer any long-term impact injuries. He has played 147 Tests in total and out of those, 145 of them have been on the bounce, which goes to show the extent to which he has been successful in warding off injuries.
#3 Allan Border
Australian cricketers are often described as warriors but if anyone epitomised it then it was their former captain Allan Border, who played 156 Test matches in total for his country and appeared in 153 of them on the trot, without a break. His career lasted just short of 15 years and at a time when cricketers were not particularly too fussy about their fitness levels, he was a revelation.
Border also played 273 ODIs for Australia and throughout his career, there was never a time when he was in any sort of danger of being injured long term. He was probably the greatest warrior cricketer Australia has ever had.
#2 Brendon McCullum
Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum played a brand of cricket that could have made many other cricketers susceptible to injuries. However, McCullum is one of those rare cricketers who played all the Test matches in his 12-year career consecutively and never missed one through injuries or otherwise.
However, it is important to keep in mind that in addition to Tests, he turned out for the national team in 260 ODIs, 71 T20is and 297 T20 games in domestic competitions in different parts of the world. Even with that sort of a workload, McCullum never suffered any long-term injuries and is rightly regarded as one of the least injury-prone players in the recent history of the game.
#1 MS Dhoni
Dhoni debuted in 2004 and from around 2005 onwards, he became a fixture in the Indian team in all formats of the game. He has played 90 Tests, 303 ODIs and 78 T20Is for India, in addition to 266 IPL matches since its inception in 2008.
One might ask, how can one cricketer be the captain of the national team for a major part of his career, keep wickets across formats, be one of the team's main batsman and yet hardly ever miss any games through injury.
In that regard, it must be said that MS Dhoni remains a freak of nature and even in the twilight of his career, he does not miss games through injury. There is no other player, who has played so much cricket and been able to emerge virtually unscathed from injuries.