Too much of ODI wears out players: Elton John

Published: Sunday, May 14, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Even as authorities governing cricket pay little heed to the burn out issue, the players have found an unlikely sympathiser in Sir Elton John, who sounded music to their ears by saying that cricketers were playing too many games.

Known for his colourful costumes and wild parties, Sir Elton, a self-confessed addict of the game, is a sort of purist when it comes to cricket and prefers Test matches over the limited over 'pyjama' version.

Infact, it is too much of the high-octane 50-over format that made the legendary singer say enough and turn his attention back to the Tests.

''I liked one-day internationals when they started them but there are too many of them now,'' he insists. ''They wear out the players and cricketers are playing too many games.'' ''Tests are far more interesting, they are more of a chess game.

Test match cricket is far more worthwhile and relaxing.

''I do think you see the best cricket is Test and I like the fact that you can play for five days and no-one wins,'' Sir Elton was quoted as saying by the BBC Sports.

'The Rocket Man' -- real name Reginald Dwight -- became hooked on the sport through listening about the feats of heroes such as Dennis Compton, Colin Cowdrey and John Edrich on BBC radio.

Instead of ''too girlish'' tennis and hockey and a ''too tough'' rugby, Sir Elton opted to focus on getting willow to hit leather.

And it is not just relaxing in the stands and watching the players sweat it out in the middle, Sir Elton even played and scored at Lord's in a charity match.

''I got to the crease and I thought 'please let me score one run'. I scored 24 but I got carried away. The next week I played in Barnes and [former England seamer] Robin Jackman got me out first ball.''

His passion for the game can even shame the most passionate in the Barmy Army and the popstar has followed England all over the world and has found little difficulty in leading members of the team astray.

''I used to love hanging around with cricketers. We had a lot of fun and got up to a lot of mischief together and when we won at Melbourne on that Boxing Day in 1986 it was one of the greatest -- and most drunken -- nights I can remember.'' Last summer's Ashes series captured the imagination of the cricketing world, and Sir Elton was no exception.

''I was on tour when we won by two runs at Edgbaston. I was in the south of France and on the phone to Michael Caine -- who is a big cricket fan.

''I was saying 'For God's sake' and he was saying 'I can't look'.'' Elton's connections with the game also include baby-sitting for Ian Botham on an Ashes tour and turning up to watch Beefy play at Worcester with fellow celebrity cheerleaders Eric Clapton and George Harrison.

The singer performed a duet with Andrew Flintoff at the England all-rounder's benefit event in Battersea on Tuesday and Freddie admitted he was more nervous performing alongside the Rocket Man than facing Glenn McGrath.

On a philosophical note, Sir Elton said, ''Every musician I've ever known would like to be a sportsman and every sportsman I've known wants to be a musician,'' he added.

''They're both great levellers and there is a feeling of togetherness -- sport and music, more than anything, bring people together.

''Every performance is different and every innings is different.

Players hit a bad patch and it happens to songwriters.''

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