"I've always been against seven-match series," Ponting said after Australia's loss in the last game. "Every other team is in South Africa playing practice matches while we're finishing off this series. We know the reasons for it, but seven games head to head is a bit too many." (source: Cricinfo.com)
Punter stating the above like it is, which is something we can all agree with.
Maybe the 7 matches is to give the English crowds a fair share of the entertainment, maybe is to increase the revenue to the associated grounds or the ECB? Maybe it is there too give some leverage to 50 over cricket?
But it is still clear that 7 back to back ODI's is too much cricket, especially after an Ashes series.
Being so close to the Champions Trophy, as Punter stated, the ODI series hasn't given the players much time to re-energise their batteries and get in some warm-up games like the other six teams have been able to do! While not a serious issue it can be concerning for the players. But it wasn't too long ago the team was in South Africa so it shouldn't be too tricky, not to mention there was a rotation policy amongst the squad during the recent One Day series.
5 ODI's is with little doubt the correct setup for teams, worthy teams to combat, to battle for a result that can be bashed in away in a little more than a week of cricket, not exhausting players and likely to keep viewers' interest levels up.
England were already 5-0 down by the 5th ODI and the motivation was rather dull for them with two games to have to go out and try see it till the end.
Furthermore while I do believe in backing your team till the end, even if victory is not in sight, it can't be easy for English fans to keep showing up to all the games when the series was not only dominated by Aussie, but more so to see England constantly getting washed to shore time and time again. While I am proud the boys cleaned them out in the series, it is something to seriously consider shortening despite the mentioned possibilities for the 7 matches.
The ICC has to make a serious plan to adjust the tournaments that occur in a calendar year. For example, after the Champions Trophy, which I really believe to be a very effective tournament, Australia head over the India for 7 ODI's!
Another series of overkill cricket, in what can be at the best of times very intense conditions to play in and for what purpose really?
5 ODI's is still highly adequate.
Also bear in mind some these guys in the team have been on the road since the South African tour started! If that doesn't wipe you out?
Sure they get to do what they love, some people envy them and wish they could have their paycheck and the experience in traveling and playing cricket in so many wonderful places etc. But when you seriously slow down and think of the different variables that build pressure around a high-profile International cricketer along with the very real fact that they too have a personal life outside the game, it is bound to hammer a players energy levels! I reckon we get much better cricket if players weren't so heavily worn out, which means player rotation policies often result in the best team not playing and results in some younger fans of the game not seeing their heroes.
If you can, just empathise for a minute on this point from a players perspective.
The above mentioned also ties together what I intend to articulate by the title of this article.
It is not intended to give the impression that I personally believe there is not quality cricket played. Far from true, in fact we have seen some unbelievable cricket in the past 2 years and with some changes in the International scene it has made it an exciting landscape. But with the amount of cricket and the notable impact too much cricket can have on the games enthusiasm levels including the players, this can be the impact upon QUALITY within cricket due to TOO MUCH cricket.
I can understand developing Nations in cricket getting their run against the top teams, but 3 Test matches is too much cricket in such an event, and even 5 ODI's is one too many.
One proposal would be to have a format for the bigger teams where 3 Test matches are played (The Ashes must not change as I believe history has a strong place in cricket) as we have seen against The Proteas and the Windies, and then only a maximum of 5 ODI's are played. Two Twenty20's is fantastic, and perhaps if an ODI series is shortened to perhaps 3 games, then 3 T20's would give sufficient entertainment? Twenty20 is seen as its own format, but it really can hype 50 over cricket!
The 50 over game will be given such a benefical boost if a structure is in place that will not only increase the viewership and interest in the format, but there may be better possibility for Marketing to take effect to give the game stronger leverage, which ultimately promotes the World Cup.
Fresher cricketers with better motivation levels, alongside stronger performances will ensure the concerned organisations see their beloved Return on Investment or free-flowing revenue. This is something the Windies could use really urgently.
But it's essential the supporters and cricket enthusiasts are taken into consideration with the future programs, as are the International cricketing bodies of the major teams.
It's about time the supporters are given what they deserve and that the logic of passion for the game should overpower the worthless barrage of glamour, cash, glitz and desperation that has placed every cricketing format under serious rethinking.
If the ICC, along with the Marketer's and the creative minds could just consider what would be best for the game of cricket, and what has worked, we may see a turnaround not only for the game itself and supporters, but the players too who go out there game by game to ensure they can entertain us.