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Yorkshire Blue

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England seem to have been playing cricket non-stop more or less for a year. Pakistan and India are gruelling tours, but they were followed up with series immediately against Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home. As soon as the tests end they play ODIs. No sooner than the season ended then they were off to the Champions Trophy. That finished and they only had to face Australia over 5 tests, in Australia. Players like Strauss, Bell and Collingwood have probably played pretty much every game.

Considering that, its no surprise to see those players looking tired and struggling. IMHO they aren't bad players, they are tired players. They aren't great one-day players but neither are they 120 all out batsmen. Australia are a better one-day side than England, but the gap really isn't as wide as recent results and performances suggest.

England's best performer so far this ODI series is Flintoff. Flintoff hasn't been playing non-stop cricket, he missed a fair bit of the summer and is only just getting back into form.

Our best bowler in the test series was Hoggy, who doesn't play ODIs any more. That means he gets time off at the end of tours to recover.

Anyone else see a pattern emerging?

The issue is probably masked by the fact that players like Anderson and Giles have been injured and therefore were lacking cricket, but a balance desperately needs to be drawn between adequately preparing players and then flogging them to death when fit.

Probably the best thing to happen to KP was that injury. He can now go home and rest and come back fit and raring to go. With a major tournament coming up, the pinnacle of most players' careers (except those who played in the epic 2005 Ashes) and players are dropping like flies. Not just injured, but mentally exhausted. Damien Martyn, Marcus Trescothick, Nathan Astle and Steve Harmison. Four players who were staples of their team's test and one-day sides. All four could have lit up the world cup, but instead all four have opted out. Its not right when top performers like this, who should be near the height of their powers opt out of major sporting contests and it suggests that something is seriously wrong.

Sadly, England will be the team hardest hit. Our schedule is a joke. We've played something like 15 tests in that last calendar year and played in 5(?) different countries. If we want to know what Australia do right, we would do well to look at when there next test series is scheduled - I'll give you a clue its not 3 weeks after they are due back from the World Cup.
 

BILLERICAY BLUE

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Yes but we have a major problem, in the fact that we are the only Northern Hemisphere team, and therefore the only team that plays Tests between May and September. So 5 of the other 7 teams get a nice break. Maybe we should have a winter off ?
 

Yorkshire Blue

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I think one tour a winter is sufficient. England's problems are because they are trying to play four tours a year.

I don't mind going to Bangladesh before India or Zimbabwe (politics aside) before South Africa but India and Pakistan in one winter is too much.

I'd like a limit on the number of games players can play - eg 10 tests and 20 ODIs a year (maybe 30 in a world cup year). Won't happen.
 

Yorkshire Blue

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Pretty sure its the ECB who sets the tours up.

The ICC are guilty of the Champions Trophy (and the World Cup, which is fair enough) but otherwise its the ECB who organise it all. They are supposed to play everyone within a certain timeframe (can't remember how many exactly). It is definitely the respective cricket associations that determine how many tests in each series. Part of the trouble is the desire to keep the Ashes biannual and five tests long - they are even considering turning it into six with an extra test for Hobart.

Whilst England seem to be the worse inflicted, it is a problem which blights world cricket. Proven international cricketers are dropping like flies and something must be done about it.
 
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