Debate on packed scheduling rumbles on April 24, 2006

Miandad dismisses player burnout concerns

Cricinfo staff

Miandad, 20-plus years of cricket behind him, dismisses concerns of increasing workload ©AFP

Javed Miandad, former Pakistan captain and batting legend, has added his voice to the brewing debate about player workloads, dismissing concerns of player burnout due to an increasingly busy international schedule.

"All these complaints about too much cricket nowadays is rubbish. In our days we yearned for more matches," Miandad told Reuters.

He added, "Look at the other sports globally and how much football, tennis and golf is played on the international circuit. Cricket still lacks in global appeal because it is restricted to few countries."

The three-time former coach remains his country's highest-capped Test player, with 124 appearances, and is also their top run-scorer (8832 runs). Additionally, he also played 233 ODIs. Miandad did stress however that the ICC and member boards ensured adequate rest periods between matches and during a tour. "That is important for players to recover but I don't think excessive international cricket is being played these days. The players are also being paid well now."

Miandad, whose own international career spanned over 20 years, argued that international careers were shorter now and that players should be happy to play as much cricket as possible. "It's a reality players have to get used to and just try to maintain optimum fitness levels to avoid fatigue and burnout."

Miandad's comments come during a period in which debate over the issue has intensified. Sunil Gavaskar first criticised modern-day players for complaining about being overburdened, claiming he was willing to sweat it out 365 days a year for India. Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, then pleaded for administrators to give players a better break, after a schedule which saw Australia play 17 Tests, including the Ashes, in less than a year.

He cited fatigue as a factor in their performance in the first Test against Bangladesh last week, which saw them nearly succumb to a shock defeat before pulling out a narrow three-wicket win. Shahid Afridi announced a temporary `retirement' from Test cricket till the World Cup 2007, citing a hectic playing schedule and lack of time with his family as reasons. Marcus Trescothick, who returned home from England's tour to India with what was reported eventually as a virus, also expressed his concerns about the packed schedule.

Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, recently launched a stirring defence of his organisation, writing in an article published on Cricinfo "that the ICC was all too aware of the strain on players." Speed argued that the development of a six-year Future Tours Programme (FTP) to replace the old five-year one was an acknowledgement of player concerns.