Just a few short months ago, Sri Lanka was on the verge of a world championship. Then they went to England where they lost the ODI series 3-2. Now they are back home, and about to lose another one day series to Australia.
Now, of course, England and Australia are not, say, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, but I do find it interesting that they are totally unable to compete at the same level as they did in February/March. Is it simply too much cricket? (World Cup, IPL for some, England, Australia)? I mean, the last ODI at Manchester was on 9 July. On 13 July they played Scotland in the mini-tri-nations-tournament, and then just three weeks later on 6 August they were playing Australia in a 20 over match.
If it is simply too much cricket, then the ICC and the country boards really need to examine the situation. Force countries to rotate their squads, for instance. Or simply limit the number of tournaments a player can play in, like the BCCI does – (India players still play too much cricket however.) Does a player really need to play for his country, his county, in the Big Bash, AND in the IPL? Are they that underpaid?
I don’t have the answer, but something needs to be done. Watching a proud cricketing nation like Sri Lanka have their team fold due to simple exhaustion is simply no way to advance the game.
And I have talked about this before, but American athletes are coddled like no other athletes in the world, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
For example, a pitcher throwing more than 100 pitches in a major league game is positively unheard of these days. Meanwhile, at the Edgbaston test, Praveen Kumar bowled like 240 deliveries in two days as England batted on and on and on. Not only would a major league pitcher never throw more than 100 pitches, but they only pitch every five days or so.
And again, at the World Baseball Classic, which is baseball’s answer to the World Cup, because of the timing of the tournament, starting pitchers have severely limited pitch counts when pitching for their country. Could you imagine Nottinghamshire telling England that Broad can only bowl 10 overs during any given international competition? And England agreeing!? Much less during the world fucking cup!?
I am sure it is simply a cultural difference, or maybe it is the strength of the American players’ unions, but I think cricket (and football) needs to take a long look at how it treats its players. American athletes might be overly coddled, but I bet there is a happy medium.
All that said: fans like me are partially to blame. We clamor and clamor and clamor for more tests, more tournaments, more cricket. And the ICC is simply responding to that request. But maybe, just maybe, a break for fans is a good thing, too.
Back on the pitch: England are the number one test team in the world after crushing India by an innings and 242 runs. The match at the Oval is now disappointingly a dead rubber, the only excitement being the prospect of Sachin’s 100th 100.
And there is plenty happening internationally this week in cricket, too: ODIs between Sri Lanka and Australia, plus Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
And there the County Championship is back and ready to be followed.
Back to work. Until tomorrow!