September 11, 2019
The England Test captain’s tiredness exposes modern cricket’s faultline – a packed schedule is brilliant for fans but brutal for playersThe weather seemed to turn last week, and the conversation with it. All of a sudden it was autumn and, since what it’s like out is one of the few reliable topics of conversation in this country, friends sent despairing messages from Old Trafford complaining about how bitterly cold it was in the stands. The Cricket season’s still got another fortnight‑and‑some to run, there’s this last Test at the Oval, and two more rounds of County Championship matches after the current one. They’ll be sweeping great piles of dead leaves from the outfield by the time it finishes on 26 September, six months and two weeks after the counties played their first warm-up games back in the middle of March.
Joe Root’s fatigue shows the catch of being a cricketer for all formats | Andy Bull
The approach of the England and Wales Cricket Board to scheduling is something like a teenager’s to tidying their room, they just keep stuffing things in to the space they have. Sooner or later, the wardrobe is going to split open at the hinges. Next year it will be even messier, because everything is being rearranged around the Hundred, which will run through July and August, overlapping with the county one-day competition, a one‑day and a T20 series against Australia (gratuitous in one sense, not the other), and a Test and T20 series against Pakistan. “There will,” the ECB chief executive, Tom Harrison, said earlier this summer, “be some inevitable challenges with scheduling.” He made it sound as if it was beyond his control.
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