Cricket's congested fixture list April 20, 2006

Ponting pleads 'give us a break'

Cricinfo staff



Ricky Ponting: "We just had guys who, if we were fair dinkum, probably shouldn't have played" © Getty Images

Ricky Ponting has renewed his demand that cricket's administrators give their players a break, adding that the near-upset in the first Test at Fatullah was entirely down to the fatigue levels of his jet-lagged players.

"We just didn't have a break," Ponting told The Sydney Morning Herald. "Two days between most Test matches that we've just played is not nearly enough. I think we just saw the effects of that day one in Dhaka. We just had guys who, if we were fair dinkum, probably shouldn't have played. Shouldn't have taken the field because they were just totally exhausted and fatigued."

Australia's emphatic victory, by an innings and 80 runs, in the second Test at Chittagong, was a more apt reflection of the gulf between the sides ranked No. 1 and No. 10 in the world. But Ponting hoped that their poor showing in the first Test, where they scraped to victory by just three wickets after conceding a hefty first-innings deficit, would make the administrators sit up and notice.

"For the last few years now we've basically been demanding more days - three days - between Test matches," said Ponting. "One day might not sound a lot but coming here, if we had one more day before the first Test, we would have been a lot better off for it. I think we've played five in five weeks, in pretty extreme conditions here. That, as far as I'm concerned, is not acceptable."

Ponting's comments will doubtless sound like sour grapes to Bangladesh's supporters, especially after he was forced to backtrack on his earlier statement that their team should not be playing Test cricket. But the sight of Jason Gillespie helping himself to a Test double-hundred in the Chittagong fixture merely underlined the gulf that exists between the two nations.