IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Cricket Australia eyes a less hectic schedule


siddleCricket Australia’s chairman Jack Clarke has conceded that the game could be better served with a less crowded international calendar when the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) is devised. His comments came as a stiff and sore Peter Siddle arrived home in Melbourne for the first time after more than five months on tour.

Siddle has been one of the hardest-working members of Australia’s squad this year, having not been at home since April, when he enjoyed a brief spell following the Test series in South Africa. Since then he has been in England for the World Twenty20, the Ashes, and the one-day series, then went straight to South Africa for the Champions Trophy and from there dashed to India to play for Victoria in the Champions League Twenty20 and stayed on for the ODI series.

“It has been a long tour, I guess,” Siddle said in the Age after touching down in Melbourne. “The guys have been away for a long time now and we’ve probably played a bit too much cricket, but we will see how we go and I’m sure the boys will go well in the next three matches and come home with a [series] win.

“The biggest thing is probably the mental side of things. Just being away from family and friends, all the normal stuff you do when you’re back home. You’re always changing hotels, different sceneries and living out of a suitcase, those are probably the things that take their toll the most. It’s always going to be a lot of games and a lot of cricket played, that’s what the spectators want to see and that’s our job.”

The questions over Australia’s packed schedule have become more intense due to the high injury rate over the past couple of months. Five men have flown home from India mid-series and four first-choice players were unavailable in the first place, but in several cases the injuries appear not to be due to over-use.

Tim Paine and Brad Haddin both broke fingers, Callum Ferguson wrenched his knee in the field, while James Hopes and Moises Henriques tweaked hamstrings despite not being part of the long Ashes tour. But Jack Clarke said it was still worth pushing for a less packed FTP when the current programme expires after 2012.

“It is not fixed yet as to what’s going to happen, that’s been one of the hold-ups in releasing the FTP, the ICC events,” Clarke told the Australian. “The type of events and the regularity is one of the things.

“I suspect the game can’t support an ICC tournament every year, but the ICC’s also got to get money to get countries dividends, and not just the Test-playing countries but the associates and affiliates. So hopefully less will be more, and I’d be surprised if there’s an ICC event every year, going forward in 2013-2020.”

When the Australians - those who haven’t departed already - fly home from India after next Wednesday’s final ODI, they will have only a fortnight to prepare for the first of six home Tests of the summer. The coach Tim Nielsen said the crammed schedule had made things hard and a seven-match ODI series was probably too long, but the squad had to keep doing its best under the circumstances.

“It does make it difficult but at the same time I think it is the same for pretty well everyone around world cricket at the moment,” Nielsen said in the Age. “Five [games in India], to me, would be probably about right but … we know the reasons for seven-game series. There’s television involved, all different things.”
Source:Cricket News

Image Source:Cricinfo

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