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Background: Cricket is distinctly positioned in the world of elite sports because three different formats now exist, each with characteristically different workload requirements. Fast bowlers have greater match-play workload requirements and are at greater injury risk than other positions. An update on the current cricket literature regarding fast bowling match-play physiology, workload, and injury is required to demonstrate the extent to which workload is related to performance and injury in elite fast bowlers since the introduction of 20-over cricket in 2005. Methods: The current review examined articles published in English with data collected from 2005 onwards pertaining to in situ cricket fast bowling physiology, match play, injury, and workload. Four databases were searched using the combinations of the following keywords: ‘cricket’ and ‘bowl’, inclusive of ‘pace’, ‘fast’, ‘medium’, or ‘seam’ bowling. Articles from 2005 onwards with male participants, high-performing or elite, and fast bowlers in the game of cricket were considered for inclusion. Only workload assessments captured in a field setting were included. Results: A total of 751 articles were identified. Exclusions included 527 duplicates, papers pre-2005, review articles, and abstracts. A further 185 articles were excluded after review of titles and abstracts that were deemed to be outside the scope of research or population. The full texts of 39 articles were reviewed, with only 17 included in this systematic review. In five articles reviewed, fast bowlers had a greater workload than other player types. Bowling workload history was reviewed in seven articles and appeared to have a complex interaction with likelihood of injury and injury type. Conclusion: Fast bowling workload has a well recognised relationship with injury and performance. Although monitoring acute and chronic workloads of fast bowlers remains the most ideal method for identifying preparedness and injury likelihood in fast bowlers, complexities exist that make the systematic prescription of bowling workloads difficult. Advances in technology to monitor workloads may provide further insight into the intensity and workloads of fast bowlers. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42015032466


School of Exercise Science

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Journal Article

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