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England fans thinking of implementing supporter rotation

A novel idea to get through a jam-packed tour without sustaining long-term psychological injury

Alex Bowden
Bill Cooper, the Barmy Army trumpeter, plays a tune in the WACA crowd, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, December 15, 2006

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With the details of India's 2014 tour of England now finalised, supporters are faced with a situation where there is never more than seven days between international fixtures. Burnout is a realistic concern and so, many will be implementing a rotation policy to ensure they can get through the tour without sustaining long-term psychological injury.
England fan Edgar Daniels is cautiously optimistic that his family can successfully plot a course through five Tests, five one-dayers and the solitary T20.
"With the Tests against Sri Lanka finishing at the end of June, we should be going into the India Tests pretty fresh. That sets us up well for what will prove to be a hugely demanding period for England cricket fans - particularly for those with an interest in all formats of the game."
Edgar himself faces a heavy workload as he usually follows every single England match. However, he is realistic enough to acknowledge that he will need a rest at some point.
"It's not set in stone yet, but I'm almost certainly going to sit out the third Test at the Rose Bowl. My brother John is well suited to the longest format, so he can step in and hopefully pull off a daddy stint in front of the TV while I just check the score on ESPNcricinfo every now and again."
Provided he gets that mid-series breather, Edgar is confident his attention will stand up to five Tests in 42 days. However, with the one-day series commencing just six days after the Oval Test, this is perhaps when things could become particularly challenging.
"Yeah, we've got to be realistic - motivation could prove a problem. We have the climax of a Test series and then I need to be good to go again inside a week in an entirely different format. It's a fast turnaround, but that's the reality of modern cricket. In a way, it might be better if the Oval Test is a bit of a washout, but we can't base our plans around the weather. I'm definitely going to sit out a couple of the one-dayers and maybe that first one will be a good one to miss. Obviously, you want to be involved in every England match, but we've got great supporters in the family who can step in, so it shouldn't prove a problem. The England team should still benefit from the same high level of support from the Daniels family."
Edgar is referring to his father, Tim, and his mother, Sarah. However, there remain concerns about whether they are viable replacements for Edgar and John. This year, during the Lord's Test against New Zealand, Tim switched over to the MotoGP, while Sarah has a recurring technical issue that sees her pronounce "Bresnan" with a middle-consonant sound like the one in "Brezhnev".
Edgar is quick to defend the pair. "We're perhaps going to have to accept that Dad isn't suited to Test cricket, but his record in the shorter formats is second to none. He once spent a whole day sitting in the rain at Lord's waiting for play, even though the forecast was never for anything better than 'heavy showers'. As for Mum, she knows she's got a weakness and she's working hard on it. It all looks good in practice. We just need to start hearing that correct pronunciation more frequently in match situations."
The Daniels family will need to overcome these problems in order to compete, because in India's supporters they face opposition with unmatched strength in depth.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket