May criticises cricket’s schedule

Tim May has criticised the ICC regarding the sheer number of matches countries are expected to play, highlighting the ridiculous schedule facing Australia and India later this year. The two sides will face each other 21 times in 8 months, but their packed intinerary is just the peak of the mountain. We’ve known this would happen for years yet the ICC continue to pile on the matches and honour the boards’ and TV companies’ greed, at the players’ and spectactors’ expense.

“They were already playing each other 18 times and now they’ve thrown in another three (in Ireland),” May said. “We’re concerned about that. Players have a passion for the game and want to maintain that passion every time they play. But it’s becoming harder to play every game as though it’s their last.

“No one wants a two-bit product where blokes are only giving 75 percent because that’s all they’ve got left. Or because they need to pace themselves for more games coming up.” May, who has criticised the heavy workload on players in the past as well, also took a shot at the upcoming World Cup, arguing that it dragged on purely because of TV broadcasters.

“Our World Cup is too long,” he said. “Everybody bar the people who sell the TV rights believe we could compress it. The ICC sells the rights for significant amounts of money and obviously the broadcasters want to get their money’s worth.

One-day cricket is the commercial world’s gem. Short, fast, glamorous, colourful, loud, they are a huge revenue-generator for TV companies and the ICC. But with excess comes complacency, comes boredom. Do the players really want to be playing this amount of cricket? Of course not. Do the public care enough to sit through a seven-match humdrumathon after witnessing a Test series which, with the exception of India, remains the game’s pinnacle of entertainment? I doubt it. One-dayers should be the icing on a series’ cake, not a whole extra extravagant meal in itself.

One-day cricket is a victim of its own success, its shelf-life coming to an end. If nothing is done to address the sheer quantity of matches being played, we could well see strike action from the players in a desperate attempt not only to remain fit, but mentally sane. I hope so, too, because the ICC are far too one-eyed to see sense unless a problem smacks them in the chops.

Patrick Kidd has his own thoughts over at Line and Length. Offer yours below.

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