Ian Baker - Too much cricket is damaging the sport
17 Jun 2010 - 11:09:14
It has become a favoured subject of mine but cricketing overkill still continues.
This weekend sees the start of 14 One Day Internationals for England this summer, when they travel to Edinburgh to face Scotland.
Now I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Andrew Strauss' men taking on their close neighbours. To the contrary. It is great they are forging links with new cricketing nations.
But to then play five ODIs with Australia, three with Bangladesh and then five more against Pakistan just seems to be total madness, made with pound signs in mind rather than anything else.
Even James Anderson agreed. At a press conference in London on Monday he questioned why England were playing five matches against their bitter rivals from down under with an Ashes tour merely months down the line to look forward to.
Anderson said he would dearly love to play more for his county, Lancashire, rather than playing constant international cricket.
Kevin Pietersen amazingly played for his own county Hampshire for the first time in nearly two years last week.
With county sides struggling more than ever to make ends meet, a balance clearly needs to be struck. It has got to the stage where 50-over cricket at international level needs to be marginalised.
With the success of the 20-over form of the game, something has to give. Test cricket has been regarded as the pinnacle and must remain that way but with the success of the shortest form of cricket, there becomes no room to play three forms of one game on a regular basis.
It has come more and more to my belief that 50-over cricket should be removed from the calendar. Play Twenty20 and Test matches to your hearts content. Players cannot be involved in international cricket every waking moments of their lives.
County matches have long been part of English sporting history but Twenty20 games aside, no-one attends.
A lack of international players playing county cricket has simply not helped. To perform at the peak of their powers, sportsmen do not play World Cup Finals every week.
Reduce international cricket, let those men play lower grade games and you could reap the rewards.