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Wisden CricInfo staff
June 3, 2003
It was a fairly predictable excuse for Australia's capitulation in the final three matches of their Caribbean tour, but it was no less valid for that: Ricky Ponting has argued that their recent seven-match one-day series against West Indies lacked appeal for the participants.
"I think seven games against the one side is a few too many in these one-day tournaments," said Ponting, whose side had wrapped up the series by taking an unassailable 4-0 lead with three to play. "It tends to drag on a bit, and get a bit monotonous. We had that also in my first series as captain in South Africa. We got off to a very good start in that tournament and probably petered away towards the end. I think five games would be better than seven."
Understandably, Brian Lara was keen not to detract from his side's achievement in inflicting three consecutive defeats on Australia - after all, the last time that happened, in the VB Series in 2001-02, the upshot was Steve Waugh's sacking as one-day captain. "Right now [my favoured length is] seven games," joked Lara. But he agreed that the format lacked bite, and said it was a pity that Sri Lanka - who arrived in the Caribbean on Monday - had not been included in the series. "I like having a third team and a final," said Lara. "Maybe Sri Lanka should have been here earlier. It would've made things a lot more exciting."
It was a visibly shattered Australian team who slumped to a nine-wicket defeat in Grenada on Sunday, and mentally, half the side were already on their flights home. At a time when the international fixture list is crying out for less, the lessons are there to be heeded.
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