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Buchanan fears too much cricket

By Michael Crutcher 25/04/2003 06:58:36 PM Comments (0)

Australian coach John Buchanan fears international cricket standards may be declining because of the draining schedule.

Senior Australian players have been granted a few days holiday in Barbados this weekend to freshen up a group which is on the final leg of a 10-month stint featuring 12 Test matches and 36 one-day internationals.

The schedule hasn't affected results, with Australia already retaining the Frank Worrell Trophy with victory in the opening two Tests against the West Indies following last month's World Cup success.

But Buchanan is wary of the strain on his players as the tourists prepare for a three-day match against the University of West Indies XI starting on Saturday before next week's third Test at Kensington Oval.

"There's probably an argument to suggest that worldwide levels of performance are decreasing though we may not visibly see it because we're all going through the same thing at the same time," Buchanan said.

"It's very difficult for anybody to maintain over an extended period of time a level of performance that we all currently exhibit.

"The reality is that's the program at the moment so, until there are some strategies to cope with it, then everybody has to go through it if they want to be part of the Australian team.

"Everybody is aware of it, the ACB (Australian Cricket Board) administration is certainly concerned about it as to how they can best manage it, the selectors, the players."

Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie will be rested from Saturday's tour match because of their heavy workloads which reflect the increasing demands of the international schedule.

In 1992, teams contested a total of 26 Test matches and 89 one-day international matches but those numbers ballooned to 54 and 145 during 2002.

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