Brave decision by Afridi, says Tim May

Published: Monday, April 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Frustrated, concerned and disappointed at the ICC's apathy towards player burnout owing to too much cricket, Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) President Tim May has threatened the governing body with the possibility of a players' strike if no step is taken to address the matter.

Calling for a line to be drawn somewhere, Mr May said the players were being pushed beyond their capacity by their respective boards and even the ICC was not taking any step to control the situation.

''The ICC and the member countries aren't abiding by principles that are supposed to be followed by in the scheduling of tours,'' the FICA chief told ''The Sun-Herald''.

''We're frustrated, we're concerned, we're disappointed,'' he added.

Mr May said he was worried that top players might start avoiding long and punishing tours to save themselves from burning out.

''It's very, very high risk. It devalues the game because your players aren't at their best. The guys don't have time to prepare professionally for games,'' he said.

''The stakeholders, the spectators, miss out. You get rotation policies but even that devalues the games and the teams and the spectacle,'' Mr May warned.

Citing the example of Shahid Afridi, who quit Test cricket to concentrate on his World Cup preparations, Mr May said gruelling schedules would add to the list of those, who will quit one form of the game to prolong their career in the other.

''Guys start going through the motions. Their bodies are extremely fatigued. They just can't keep doing it. I don't know what the next step is. Some players might take it into their own hands,'' he said.

''Shahid Afridi isn't playing Tests because he says the amount Pakistan are playing is ridiculous. He's taken a brave step and, quite frankly, it's a step countless players are contemplating. If that's good for the game, I'm in the wrong business,'' he added.

He said it wouldn't be too long before the administrators of the game themselves kill the golden goose.

''Players have been raising this issue with the ICC for countless years but nothing has changed. It's a revenue-raising frenzy,'' he said adding, ''It's pushing the players into a position where they're just going to say, 'No, it's too much, we're walking away from this, we're not going to play in these games'.''

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