Ian Baker - Tired England a product of over-exposure
19 Jan 2010 - 15:30:16
When looking for reasons why South Africa beat England so convincingly in the final Test, it is easy to say the hosts turned up and the visitors did not.
It is also easy to say Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn blew England away right from the start with significant contributions from Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher. Luck with the referral system and significant moments going the hosts' way (such as Andrew Strauss falling first ball of the match) are other reasons.
But I prefer to look deeper than that. Since the English season ended in September, the players have been to South Africa for the Champions Trophy, back to England and then back to Africa again for Twenty20, five ODIs and then four Tests. Is it any wonder that after performing so admirably in the first three Tests they had nothing left?
For a side that have fought so hard during their time in South Africa it is such a shame they apparently lacked courage and spirit in Johannesburg.
Such a long tour in South Africa, the second ranked Test side in the world, is perhaps necessary. It is one of the big ones.
But how can the ECB sell such a long tour in UAE and Bangladesh coming up? The England players have less than a month before they depart on February 14 to re-charge their batteries.
The tour was originally going to be just over a month with three one-dayers and two Tests in Bangladesh.
But the ECB have decided to add two Twenty20 matches in Dubai against Pakistan - presumably with cash an added incentive. Is it any surprise that captain Strauss is missing the whole tour citing potential burn-out?
Regular readers of this blog are fully aware of my belief that far too much cricket is played throughout the world at the moment.
But nothing seems to be done to reduce it.
Over the last few weeks I have read Marcus Trescothick's 2008 autobiography Coming Back to Me.
Although not directly linked to the mental issues he faced, it is clear that spending the majority of his life travelling to different hotels in different parts of the world to play numerous series, did him no good at all.
People may criticise Strauss but he is saving himself for more important matches.
Will it really take more Trescothicks to bring the issue of too much cricket to a head?
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