Bedi lashes out at ICC for too much cricket

Published: Friday, April 28, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Recalling the good old days when cricketers had the luxury of a Sunday off, former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi has lashed out at the ICC for doing nothing to prevent players' fatigue owing to gruelling schedules, which were also taking a toll on the followers of the game.

''Both the individual boards and the ICC have to take the responsibility but I feel ICC is the main culprit because they are the ones who decide the schedules. In their efforts to provide more matches for teams like Bangladesh they are making top teams like India and Australia play more,'' the former Test great told.

''During our times, we had Sundays off and balanced breaks between matches. But players today are not getting proper rest between tournaments,'' he added criticising the present day format of back-to-back cricket series.

He said a line has to be drawn somewhere as the growing number of matches was also becoming a ''torture'' for the spectators.

''There is a problem and its not just the players, who are suffering but also the spectators. It has become a torture for them as well because lots of grounds do not have the best of facilities for the paying public,'' he explained.

''The ICC needs to draw a balance in the number of ODIs and Tests in a tour. For instance if there are four Test being played then there should not be more then three ODIs,'' Bedi suggested.

He, however, did not agree with Federation of International Cricketer's Association's (FICA) President Tim May's views that players might just go on strike if the situation did not change. Bedi said such an event was highly unlikely as the cricketers are getting paid very well.

''I doubt whether this will happen because the players are well paid. Mental and physical fatigue is there but money is also there so I don't think this is a possibility,'' he said reacting to the threat made by the FICA chief.

Asserting that cricketers need at least two to three months of rest in a year, Bedi said for now only England seems to have the most balanced schedule while India, Australia and Pakistan were playing far too many matches.

''You need a break of two-three months. It keeps the motivation level intact and the players also remain fresh. England has the right schedule and the most balanced among all the Test playing nations right now. But look at India, Pakistan and Australia, they are playing too much,'' he felt.

The former captain said it was not the ideal time for India and Australia to play cricket right now but the money involved means that the two teams are busy with different tour commitments.

''Its off season right now and they should not be playing but both the teams are busy,'' he said.

Refusing to comment on Sunil Gavaskar's comments that cricketers should not be complaining of burnout and be proud to represent their country, Bedi said steps need to be taken at the earliest to address the matter before its too late.

''The administrators just have to apply common sense and balance out the number of games. After all you wouldn't want to kill the golden goose, would you?'' the former left-armer added.

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