Player burnout worries Nielsen
Australia coach Tim Nielsen has expressed concern over possible player burnout for a certain section of the touring party in India for the seven-match ODI series starting on Sunday. Six players, part of the Victoria and New South Wales squads, have already spent more than two weeks in the country for the Champions League Twenty20 and Nielsen is particularly concerned that there isn't much time to rest between series.
The whole team has been on the road starting from the seven-match ODI series in England, which was immediately followed by the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa. Those taking part in the Champions League then headed to India - and both Australian state teams made it to the semi-finals. Nielsen said the strain of traveling will be particularly hard on three NSW players - Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz and Doug Bollinger - who have a day to head to Vadodara for the first ODI after the tournament final in Hyderabad.
"Its difficult. We have our New South Wales players playing the final on tonight and joining the squad tomorrow afternoon," Nielsen said. "We are supposed to play at 9 on Sunday morning. It's that much of traveling, that much of playing.
"Those guys on the NSW team who were on the Ashes tour have not been home for six months, which is a huge ask. Most of our group members had a week and a half at home in that period. If you have a family it can be difficult."
Nielsen was pleased, however, that the endless traveling hadn't reflected in their on-field performances. Australia drubbed England 6-1 in the one-dayers and had an undefeated run in the Champions Trophy.
"We had some young players coming in and the bowling attack changed through injury. Brett Lee was out. We had [Mitchell] Johnson already and [Peter] Siddle, [Ben] Hilfenhaus and [Doug] Bollinger coming into the team," Nielsen said. "They were willing to do things as well as they could.
"We got to a stage when we won 14 out of 16 ODI games in the past three series, Pakistan, England and the Champions Trophy. That's been very positive signal for us."
Nielsen added that the current Australian team has come through the transition period very well, following the retirement of several senior players. He said a pool of international-class players were identified to take on responsibilities in the event of injuries and pull-outs.
"We had to sit down and actually define how we need to play our best cricket and what we need to do to become competitive," he said. "We had to talk to every player and make sure they understood what was required of them. We had to start looking a little bit outside the square and taking different players to make sure we had more than 11 or 12 players. You saw through the Champions Trophy that without Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke, we were able to cover their losses with three young players who came in."