Ponting lashes out at hectic cricket schedule

Published: Friday, April 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has labelled the increasingly hectic international Test schedule "unacceptable" and has demanded more recovery time between matches.

Ponting's side completed a 2-0 series clean sweep against Bangladesh Thursday but only after the Test minnows came close to a shock win in the first match against an out-of-sorts Australia.

The Australian captain blamed the unconvincing performance on a punishing schedule that included three Tests in South Africa immediately before the Bangladesh series.

"It has been an incredibly difficult last few months for us," Ponting said in remarks reported in the Australian media Friday.

"The Test cricket has been quite demanding and the program has been very demanding.

"We certainly have to have a look at the amount of time between Tests. We played five in five weeks, and in pretty extreme conditions here. That is, as far as I am concerned, unacceptable."

Ponting's frayed nerves were evident in the second Test in Chittagong, when he was fined 25 percent of his match fee for dissent when he disputed a not out decision that was subsequently overruled.

He said more time was needed between Tests for the Australians to perform at their best.

"We would like more time between the Test matches, that's the big thing," he said.

"We just didn't have a break. A two-day break between Test matches we just played is nowhere near enough. I think we saw the effects of that on day one in the first Test in Dhaka.

"We had guys who, if we were fair dinkum, probably shouldn't have played. Shouldn't have taken the field because they were totally exhausted and fatigued."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland defended the schedule earlier this week and said it was the players who wanted back-to-back series against South Africa and Bangladesh.

"They wanted to get straight into it," he said. "They felt that they were in Test match mode and the appropriate course of action was to go straight there (Bangladesh) and get home sooner rather than later, so that people could enjoy a break then."

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