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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


Ponting concerned about Australia's heavy Test schedule

April 20, 2007 15:05 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting has voiced his concerns about a brutal schedule in which his team is playing 20 Test matches in 2008.

The Australians are due to play only three Tests in 2007 but because the start of their home series against India has been put back to Dec. 26, the last three matches of it will spill over into January 2008.

"It is very hectic and 20 Tests in a year is something that's quite extraordinary really," Ponting told reporters at the World Cup in Grenada.

"I think 15 is probably the most I've ever played in a year. The more cricket you play, I'm not entirely sure if it becomes enjoyable for the spectators all the time as well."

The main reason for the late start to the India series is the scheduling of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September, which meant India and Pakistan had to put back their planned Test series.

Ponting said he understood the problems involved in organising the international calendar but is concerned about the burden on players.

"Something will give somewhere along the line," he said. "We as a player group have voiced our opinions quite a lot over the last few years about the workload on the players.

"I totally understand how hard it is to try and fit the programming in to keep everybody happy. It's hard work.

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After the four-match Test series against India, part of which now clashes with the Australian Open tennis, Ponting's team go into a one-day tournament against India and Sri Lanka. They are then due to play three Tests in Pakistan and four in West Indies.

Australia return home to play Bangladesh in two Tests before a four-Test tour of India and back-to-back home series against New Zealand and South Africa in 2009-09.

"There are a lot of reasons why our summer stretches out as long as it does," Ponting said. "India's availability at different times and that sort of thing. We are just going to have to deal with it and cope with it as best as we can.

"The past couple of years have been extremely busy and extremely hectic, so a lot of credit has to go to the players and the staff for managing that as well as they have. But it's not getting any easier. Certainly the older you get it's not getting any easier either."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland admitted he would have preferred to complete the India series before the end of January.

"There's no doubt we would have a preference for having the Indian tour earlier than we are, but at the same time it creates opportunities for us to do other things," he said.

"We think the programme has come up really well. The way it looks is fantastic in terms of sharing content around."


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