Resting the best players in a one-day cricket series stuck in a hectic schedule is the only way to avoid burnout, but Australian stars over 50 are adamant the format still deserves a place in the calendar.
Alarm bells are ringing for one-day cricket, with Australia set to play just 15 ODIs at home between July 2023 and June 2027 – less than four games per season – under the Future Tours schedule released the week last.
But that calendar also includes a 50-win World Cup in India next year which is firmly in the minds of Australian players as they prepare for the three-game one-day series against Zimbabwe, which kicks off Sunday in Townsville.
Versatile superstar Glenn Maxwell has acknowledged that the 50-year-old game is ‘tougher on your body’ than others and that playing too much could shorten careers if players try to compete in all three formats.
But Maxwell also said Australia’s rich history in ODI cricket, having won five World Cups, assured him he would always consider it important.
“Because I grew up watching one day cricket, it was Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh or Gilly (Adam Gilchrist), and when I think of one day cricket , I think about those guys,” Maxwell said this week.
“I plan to stay up late at night. I was watching their series against England in 2005, watching them play against KP (Kevin Pietersen) when he had the skunk haircut. It was such a cool series to watch, I remember it so clearly, like the 1999 World Cup, I think about those things.
“And so for me, it’s a bit different. I know the younger generation probably think a little differently, but I still think they still belong.
Maxwell said authorities needed to be, and were, aware of the players’ workload when it comes to one-day cricket, and Australia selectors had rested Test captain Pat Cummins from upcoming matches ahead of a summer monster that includes a home T20 World Cup.
“It obviously makes the schedule busy, but that’s what we impose on ourselves. It could shorten the careers of a lot of guys, there could be fewer guys playing cricket at 38,” he said.
“I still think he still has a place in the schedule, but I think we have to be careful about how much we, I guess, flood the schedule and wear the guys down.
“We need to be more aware of guys who don’t play all sets.”
Australian one-day goalkeeper Alex Carey has said he will play for Australia “anywhere, in front of anyone”, so the series against Zimbabwe and then New Zealand in Townsville that will follow him enthusiasm.
But beyond that, he said the lure of a World Cup, in any format, was enough to attract players and he agreed the game at 50 had its part to play in world cricket.
“I love the game, one day cricket,” he said.
“I understand with the arrival of T20 and the Hundred that there may be other interests for perhaps new cricket fans.
“But as a player, it’s still a format that this country has done so well in and there’s a lot of history behind it.
“And with the World Cup coming up, we want to win that. It sort of starts this Sunday as the next 12 months at the World Cup in India.
“It’s starting. I’m all excited.”
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