In a bid to avoid yet another stress fracture in his lower back, Australia quick Nathan Coulter-Nile has taken up regular yoga classes led by banned Western Australian team-mate Cameron Bancroft.
Coulter-Nile’s smooth rhythmical action has been anything but kind on his lower spine, with stress fractures ruining his last two home summers to the point where Sunday’s first ODI against South Africa in Perth looms as his first international match on home soil in nearly four years.
Now he has taken a different approach to his recovery and preparation, opting for less net bowling and more pilates and yoga in order to remain on the park more regularly.
“We always do a little bit but I’ve just tried to really rush into it head on this year and do it two to three times a week when I can,” Coulter-Nile said. “Obviously, when I’m away it’s a little bit harder. Just trying to do everything I can.
“I’ve got a really good management programme in place. I don’t bowl too much. I don’t do too much. Just really when I can, just play, rest up and play, give my back as much time as it can to recover.”
Bancroft, who is currently serving a nine-month suspension in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, undertook a yoga teaching course during the Australian winter and has become the instructor for Coulter-Nile and some of his team-mates.
“He was good. I think he’s just done a course in Melbourne for the last two or three months,” Coulter-Nile said. “He was really good, really brought us down to earth.”
Asked his opinion on whether Bancroft, Steven Smith and David Warner should have their bans overturned, Coulter-Nile gave a typically pragmatic response.
“I’ve got an opinion on everything. It doesn’t matter what my opinion is,” Coulter-Nile said. “They’re banned. They’re not here. Of course, we’d like them to play. I’d like everyone to play, but it is what it is.”
He did have a blunt opinion on Australia’s batsmen. Following the struggles in the T20I series in the UAE, where Coulter-Nile did more batting than he normally bargains for, he gave an honest appraisal of the net form of team-mates Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn.
“Everyone always says it when you’re having a bit of a bad trot they say you’re hitting them well in the nets. I feel they haven’t been,” Coulter-Nile said. “I feel they’ve been struggling in the nets. But then they’ve got here and, I don’t know what it is, but in Australia they seem to fire.
“I can personally say I hate bowling to Lynny and Finchy; I hate it, it’s scary in the games. And they should take that confidence into these games. If Hoff [Josh Hazlewood] and Starcy [Mitchell Starc] are scared bowling to them, I’m sure the South Africans are as well.”
Both sides enter the series with indifferent form, although Australia’s long-term situation is more dire. South Africa lost their only warm-up match against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra on Wednesday. Australia have won just two of their last 17 completed ODIs since February 2017, including just one of 10 against England in this calendar year.