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Australian cricketers need rest, and so do we

Kersi Meher-Homji Roar Rookie

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Rookie

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    Pat Cummins is back in the Australian Test squad. (AAP Image/Dale Cumming)

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    If a cricket tragic like me is asking for a break from cricket, what about the Australian cricketers?

    The Australian team is scheduled to play international cricket across six different countries, almost non-stop for 19 months (from August 2011 to February 2013) – over 40 weeks a year, for six days a week and eight hours a day.

    Australia’s Test results have been satisfying over the last nine months. They defeated Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka last August-September, drew with the strong South Africans away last October-November, drew with New Zealand and thrashed India at home in 2011-12 and last week beating the West Indies 2-0 in the Caribbean.

    It must be gruelling for them and lonely for their families.

    In the last nine months, Australia has played 14 Tests home and away, winning nine, drawing three and losing two.

    Add to this one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 (T20) matches and they have been on their feet seemingly forever – scoring runs, capturing scalps and chasing balls in four countries.

    They need rest and so do we, the ardent supporters of Michael Clarke’s men.

    But after a short break this month their on-road journey resumes. Here is their itinerary from June 2012 to February 2013:

    • June-July 2012, to England for five ODIs against England.
    • August-September 2012, to England for four ODIs and three T20s against Pakistan.
    • September-October 2012, World T20, to Sri Lanka.
    • October 2012, Champions’ League (if it eventuates).
    • November-December 2012, South Africa in Australia for three Tests.
    • December 2012 to January 2013, Sri Lanka in Australia for three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s.
    • February 2013, West Indies in Australia for five ODIs.
    • February to March 2013, Australia to India for four Tests.

    Of course, this does not include Sheffield Shield matches, domestic one-day games and the Big Bash.

    I would consider this more tiring than running a marathon every week. Correction, a triathlon!

    No wonder the quickies have injury problems.

    This is not just an Australian problem. It is global.

    Unless the ICC reduces this onerous schedule, the majority of spectators will pay only for T20s.

    Can anyone explain to me why Australia should tour England for an ODI series this June-July?

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Guru

      May 1st 2012 @ 7:21am
      Rabbitz said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      Yep, they sure need a rest….

      I mean I only work 10 or 12 hours a day for 50 weeks of the year and get paid, by comparison, a pittance.

      Just imagine what hell it must be to have to get paid well, to train for and play cricket. Sheer hell.

      The bottom line is – If you want the lifestyle and the remuneration then be prepared to work for it. They do have a choice after all, they could get real jobs where they have to actually work for a living whilst having their very souls destroyed…

      Oh the humanity, won’t someone please think of the cricketers???????????????

      • May 1st 2012 @ 1:50pm
        Atawhai Drive said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Rabbitz, I managed to spend 42 years in the workforce without having my soul destroyed. But I take your point.

        Professional cricketers have, what, 15 years to cash in? Fifteen years of devoting themselves to a sport that may not open any doors to a second career when they hit 35. Not every pro cricketer can squeeze into a commentary box, although there’s always umpiring and coaching I suppose.

        But the choice is theirs to make.

        • Roar Guru

          May 1st 2012 @ 3:10pm
          Rabbitz said | May 1st 2012 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

          Why is that so different to a worker who after several years is made redundant? That worker must re-skill, and find employment but generally does not have the luxury of having had the ability to amass a nest egg to tide him (or her) over. The worker also does not have access to the “old boy” network either.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 3:19pm
            Atawhai Drive said | May 1st 2012 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

            Valid point, Rabbitz. I worked in an industry in which redundancy, voluntary and forced, has become commonplace, although I managed to avoid it myself.

            The “job for life” days are over, we all agree, at least in some fields.

            But whereas, say, a competent lawyer or carpenter might expect to work until 50 or 60 _ assuming good health _ a professional cricketer is more or less certain to be over the hill at 35. Hence the need to cash in before the eye goes and the joints start complaining.

            Top cricketers have it pretty good, undoubtedly.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 7:45am
      Morning Son said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Hard to say that they are being over-worked when as soon as the test series is over when they hit the IPL.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 8:11am
      jamesb said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      I agree with both Rabbitz and Morning Son.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 8:53am
      Disco said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      Yes, it’s hard to sympathise.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 9:45am
      sheek said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Hello Kersi,

      Yes, this is something we have discussed before, so much cricket, something has to give.

      We live in a world of more & more quantity. But at some point the quality suffers.

      I don’t feel so much that they’re overworked, rather I’m concerned that we fans will end up with an increasingly dumbed down product. Through over-use…..

    • May 1st 2012 @ 9:57am
      Christo the Daddyo said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      Yes, I’m not exactly overwhelmed with pity – all of them make a choice after all. And if I even think I hear one word of complaint from any player who has taken part in the IPL then I will refuse them any sympathy for the rest of their career.

      In answer to your last question Kersi – how is this different to having Sri Lanka come out for the ODI comp in Australia this past summer?

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