Shreyas Iyer, who is currently participating in a six-day conditioning programme in Bengaluru for India’s Asia Cup-bound team, confesses to “panicking” over his back injury and that he “never imagined” he would recover so quickly.
In March, after the fourth Border-Gavaskar Test against Australia, Iyer’s injury cropped up. Initially, it was believed that he was interested in investigating non-surgical options to address the issue so that he could play in at least the second half of IPL 2023.
However, “excruciating pain” caused by a herniated disc compelled him to reconsider, bearing in mind the “long years” he had left as an athlete.
Iyer stated on the BCCI website, “I had this issue for a while, but I was taking injections and pursuing various routes to ensure that I am stable and able to play many more matches.”
“However, it reached a point where I realized, ‘Okay, now I have to get surgery.'” And the physiotherapists and experts, the back specialists, advised me that it is imperative that I undergo surgery and get this resolved.
Specifically, I had nerve compression caused by a herniated disc, and the agony was radiating all the way to the tip of my toe. Sincerely, it was dreadful.
At that time, I was experiencing excruciating agony. I was incapable of adequately communicating what I was experiencing.
In April, Iyer underwent surgery in London and remained there for three weeks so that physicians could monitor his recovery before entering the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for a three-month rehabilitation programme.
After a succession of practice matches, Nitin Patel, the director of the NCA’s medical staff, granted Iyer the final go-ahead last week.
Sincerely, it was a roller coaster journey, said Iyer. “The agony was present until three months ago, and then it began to subside.
However, the physiotherapists were also focused on restoring my hamstring, glute, and overall range of motion.
It is difficult for a professional athlete undergoing rehabilitation when the discomfort does not subside.
Thankfully, I was surrounded by a wonderful group of companions, a supportive staff, and my family. They were responsible for calming me down.
I, too, was in a state of distress, but patience is essential at this time. Therefore, I am ecstatic to be where I am now, as I never expected to recover so quickly.”
“I am content with where I am. Preparedness-wise, I am checking off every box day by day.”
Iyer on his rehabilitation
During the rehabilitation phase, Iyer acknowledges feeling overburdened. To the extent that he was “surprised” by his scores on the yo-yo test, which consists of high-intensity sprinting over a set distance, his hard work paid off.
“The testing phase was the most difficult period,” he said. “The physiotherapists and trainers were confident that I would return to full strength.”
But I could feel the agony in my psyche. At that time, I was largely unaware of whether or not I would pass the test. Over time, I noticed that my legs’ agony was diminishing and their strength was increasing.
Gradually, we began to engage in running sessions. The initial running session was extremely difficult, and I was initially unsure of what would transpire.
During my second session, I made progress. I performed some experimental yo-yo experiments, and then, after a period of time, I played a match and gained momentum. During the yo-yo exam, I even astonished myself.
As he prepares to reclaim his No. 4 position in the ODI squad, which will help him make a bid for a first World Cup participation, Iyer is intent on focusing on the present and not dwelling on the past.
“I am content with where I am. Preparation-wise, I am checking off every box day by day. The two days of practise with the lads were excellent. It was competitive, and I’m glad to be here, appreciating each moment.