Is there too much cricket?
By Ranil Abeynaike
Many of the recent cricketers are complaining that there is too much of international cricket. It is a subject that captains and the authorities of the ICC have discussed in the recent past but no concrete solution has been arrived at.

Countries review the issue differently. It is the players from England and Australia who moan most often say the load is too heavy. However, it is their life that is organized best. Both these countries always have a specific format for their home season. England between May and September and Australia between November and February. Therefore, if at all, it should be the rest of the year that should worry them.

Let us go back to where it all begins. My memories of playing under twelve school cricket is of an era when about four school matches were played in an year, during the school third term. This, having played some Inter House and Home and Home games in the previous two terms. This has all changed and from the age of nine or ten there is more cricket, more competition and with it brings in more opportunities. It’s the case around the world.

There is the possibility of getting the opportunity of playing for your country at the under fifteen age group. When players reach the under nineteen stage they should have a reasonable idea whether the sport will provide them with a livelihood. At that stage every player who has the desire to continue could visualize the long and winding road ahead with all its ups and downs.

In the countries that are in the International fold the game is a profession for a certain number of players. They embrace cricket, primarily for the love of it and therefore have to accept that the hazards, like in any other profession will exist.

Not too many players complain of “too much” in their younger days. It is as they get older, when the demands become too high to handle physically that the murmurings begin.

The demand on all top sportsmen and women are severe these days. Be it team sports such as soccer, rugby or basketball or individual sports such as golf, tennis or squash. With individual sport there is the option of selecting your events and the spacing out the year’s calendar. It is not so with team sport where a player is at the mercy of the governing body.

Even so cricketers do get some time off and this can be mutually agreed with the administrators. What the people in charge must remember is to spread the tours giving breaks in between and not indulge in shoving sudden one day series simply with the idea of making more money.

Former Pakistan great is discarding “too much” as rubbish. Miandad had a long career and from his young days played through the year – for his country, English county cricket and Pakistan’s domestic tournaments. He believes it is an honour to play or your country, players are well remunerated these days and playing cricket is all that they do. He certainly is correct.

Sachin Tendulkar feels that thirty one dayer and ten test matches should be the lot. The Indian great who has been at it since the age of sixteen is now experiencing bouts of burn out.

So is eighty days of cricket in three hundred and sixty five sufficient?
Taking all factors into consideration thirty five to forty one dayers and ten to twelve test matches should be the limit for an year. That will make it a maximum of one hundred days of play. Very few players will be required to be there every single day. Keep it to that limit and it should keep everybody happy.


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