Shafiek Abrahams

Are we seeing too much cricket?

2006-05-05 08:28

The South African cricket season started in late August 2005 and will finish in the middle of May when the last Test match will be finishing between the Proteas and New Zealand.

It is unheard of playing Test cricket in April in South Africa let alone in May! The matches are scheduled to start earlier than normal to ensure that the light does not become too much of a factor because we are heading into winter.

The 09:30 starts will be a test for both players and the grounds staff alike because the sun has now lost its heat and the pitches will take a bit longer to prepare than usual.

The grass is still covered in dew until well after 08:00 and that could well play a role in the preparations and condition of the pitches.

The toss could then become a bit of a lottery because the conditions will be foreign to the players and it will be interesting to see what the pitches will be like and how the players will respond to playing cricket well into autumn.

The demands on the international player have increased considerably over the last few seasons as a result of more matches being crammed into one season.

Already busy schedule

The inclusion of Bangladesh into the Test arena means one more team to play against and one more tour to fit into an already busy schedule.

The fact that the teams from the sub-continent are such big crowd and television audience pullers, the big money spinning tours are the one's that is from that region especially India.

These countries are sought after for the interest that they generate and the financial gain that are associated with a tour to India.

The long seasons could also be a reason why so many top players have decided to only play in the one-day form of the game in order to extend their playing careers by a few more years.

Shahid Afridi is one of the latest players to announce that he will no longer be available to play Test cricket and will only be playing the shorter version of the game.

More and more players will be doing the same to avoid burn out because most of the players from the southern hemisphere make the trip to the north to ply their trade in England during the winter.

It will shorten many of their careers if they continue to play cricket all year round without a decent break.

The introduction of the 20 overs competition will mean even more one-day games because of the popularity and success of the new concept.

Dwindling numbers

The extended season are now clashing with other sporting codes and the dwindling numbers of spectators to Test cricket will continue if the authorities continue to pack the season too full.

The challenge will be for the ICC to find a balance between the one-day money spinning competitions and the Test matches, which are ultimately the real thing.

  • Shafiek Abrahams is a former Proteas spinner
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