The controversy over too much cricket November 2, 2009

Richard Hadlee fears for player burn-out

Cricinfo staff

Legendary New Zealand allrounder Richard Hadlee fears that too much cricket could shorten the careers of top-class athletes. Against the backdrop of all the talk about an overkill of cricket in the last few years, Hadlee urged the ICC to address the matter in order to prolong careers and preserve Test cricket.

"Now if someone plays for 10 years, it should be considered a very long career. The frequency of injuries to players is perhaps a sign of overdose of cricket," he told the Hindu. "Maybe the players are not in a position to complain on this front for there are huge rewards in playing in any format of the game now. It is imperative to retain its [Test cricket's] sanctity."

Hadlee, 58, was concerned that a hectic cricket calendar would especially take a toll on the bodies of fast bowlers. "It is particularly harsh on fast bowlers," he said. "I can only advice the current generation to be patient, keep working hard with greater focus on scientific physical conditioning programme on the advice of medical experts."

With spectator interest towards 50-over cricket waning in several countries, certain former and current players have suggested ways to alter the game. Sachin Tendulkar has suggested splitting 100 overs into four innings of 25 each, which would mean that no side would have the best of the conditions for the entire match, but Hadlee was wary of tampering with rules at the moment.

"There are many exciting contests in one-dayers. However, who wouldn't love to see Sachin bat twice in a day especially if he gets out cheaply," he said. "Maybe for this reason, we can think of splitting the 50-overs format into 30 overs and 20 overs of Powerplay."