Physical pain is no obstacle for a champion. Veteran England pacer James Anderson may have essayed the role of one such hero after he reportedly played the final three Ashes Test with a broken rib.
The 31-year-old Anderson was struck by a Peter Siddle delivery during the course of the 2nd Ashes Test, played in Adelaide between December 5 and 9 last year. According to reports in the British press, the bowler may have broken his ribs but opted to conceal the injury and continue playing - bowling a total of 109.2 overs and picking nine wickets in the remainder of the lost series.
Even the slightest of niggles around the ribs are known to be extremely painful. It is reported that Anderson however, opted to pop painkillers and resort to sheer will to keep bowling for his side. Speculations indicate that the bowler perhaps, did not want to leave his team and skipper Alastair Cook - already facing defeats, Graeme Swann's retirement, Jonathan Trott's depression and Australia's verbal assault - stranded further Down Under.
Even as Anderson was battling his pain, Australia went from strength to strength. The hosts whitewashed England and all Anderson had to show for his physical hurt were 14 wickets. That the wickets could have possibly come at a heavy physical cost though, has hardly escaped attention.
Sections of the British press have criticized Anderson and have said he was being fool-hardy if he indeed covered up his injured ribs. "If Anderson did indeed hide his injury to play for the team, his 'heroism' could easily have turned into a disaster," read a report in The Sun. Another report in Telegraph.co.uk observed that Anderson was not really doing his team any favours by playing through an injury. "By doing what he did Anderson compromised the team. It makes him a thoroughly unprofessional but a champ nonetheless."
Since his return from Australia after the Ashes loss though, Anderson has played in domestic matches and is believed to be receiving proper treatment and has been taking time off to recuperate.