Australian cricketers need rest, and so do we

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

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Patrick Cummins has had plenty of injury setbacks, but he'll make it on the big stage yet. (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 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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