Too much money, too much cricket February 25, 2007

May hits out at Australia-India overkill

Cricinfo staff



Is there an overkill of Australia v India? © Getty Images

Tim May has attacked the upcoming glut of games between Australia and India by saying it devalues cricket. May, the head of the international players' association, warned the 21 Tests and ODIs the two sides will play against each other from June revealed money-grabbing motives of administrators.

"It's getting completely out of control," May told the Sun-Herald. "We're very seriously worried that a few countries are playing too much cricket.

"It's our ongoing battle with the ICC. Australia will play India 21 times in the eight months from June this year. From the perspective of players and spectators, it's going to dampen your interest. And it detracts from the commercial value of the product. Vision has been lost about what's important and what is not."

Until the 2005 Ashes series an Australia-India series was considered one of cricket's headline events. The sides clashed in three gripping Test series between 2000-01 and 2004-05, each winning one with the other drawn.

Australia are due to play seven ODIs in India in October, before a four-Test series in Australia the following summer and seven tri-series ODIs. To this list has recently been added a three-match ODI series in Ireland in June.

"They were already playing each other 18 times and now they've thrown in another three (in Ireland)," May said. "We're concerned about that. Players have a passion for the game and want to maintain that passion every time they play. But it's becoming harder to play every game as though it's their last.

"No one wants a two-bit product where blokes are only giving 75% because that's all they've got left. Or because they need to pace themselves for more games coming up." May, who has criticised the heavy workload on players in the past as well, also took a shot at the upcoming World Cup, arguing that it dragged on purely because of TV broadcasters.

"Our World Cup is too long," he said. "Everybody bar the people who sell the TV rights believe we could compress it. The ICC sells the rights for significant amounts of money and obviously the broadcasters want to get their money's worth. We have to develop the game in some countries but there are arguments about whether the World Cup is the place for them."