Kanji talks of schedule challenges


New Lead Physiotherapist Vishal Kanji “can’t say enough nice things about Essex” but, at the busiest time of the season, admits the challenges of his role have been significant.

Kanji joined the Club from near-neighbours Middlesex before the start of the 2023 campaign, and while he has been delighted by the warmth of the welcome he has received, he says the last month has been especially hectic.

“All the coaching staff have been really nice, all the players have been really welcoming, and I think I’ve fitted in really well,” said Kanji. “It’s obviously weird coming from another club, but it’s been amazing.

“I think the lads have made a big effort with me, especially a lot of the senior players, and that’s obviously helped with the younger players as well. I can’t say enough nice things about Essex at the moment.”

The environment he joined may have bred positivity for Kanji, but he notes that, three months into his first season, the “relentless” schedule in the middle of the Vitality Blast group stage has been difficult to manage.

“Sometimes it’s absolutely impossible!” admits Kanji. “We were speaking [recently], and out of the last 21 days, we’ve had 16 days of play, three days of travel, and maybe about two days off.

“It’s been absolutely relentless, and going between red ball and white ball, then back to red ball, has been almost impossible to manage. We’ve just had to do the best that we could in terms of workload management, and in terms of each player and their little niggles.

“It’s just taking it day by day, and having good monitoring of each player, especially the bowlers, who are having to do lots of hard work,” he continues.

“We have to use the bowling coaches’ and the senior players’ experience of the whole playing group and how they deal with a busy schedule as well as their bodies.

“It’s just about managing it day to day, though, because that’s about the only thing we can really do!”

The constant nature of the schedule has led to several players having to be rested, though Kanji is keen to point out that the benefits of break from playing are not entirely centred on physical fitness.

In addition, that feeds into how Kanji’s work is player-centred, but also how he takes an approach that keeps the needs of each situation in mind, drawing on his experience to emphasise that every player and group is different.

“In a busy schedule, resting players is vitally important for their mental and social well-being as much as their physical well-being,” says Kanji. “Having an eye on the bigger picture is vitally important for us all.

“It’s like with everything, when you work with different populations or different patient groups, you just have to understand people’s personalities.”

He adds: “I got to know the players and coaches first, and once you get to know those fundamentals then it shapes how you do your job.

“Things that worked well at Middlesex may not work well here, so it’s just about finding that recipe of how things are done here at Essex while thinking ‘how can I add my spin on things’?

“I’ve just tried to bring things in slowly, and I think the coaches have been receptive to it all. It’s been a big change, but a very positive one.”