Ponting will struggle to find a spare weekend for a barbecue in busy 2009

December 10th, 2008 - 6:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Dec 10 (ANI): A backlog of postponed tours and tournaments has made Australias cricket team embark on their busiest year on record in 2009, and skipper Ricky Ponting will struggle to spare a weekend for a barbecue. For about a year.

Pontings Test, one-day and Twenty20 sides will play up to 140 days of cricket across six countries and be on the road for a whopping 318 days in a gruelling itinerary.

The year includes a four-month tour of the United Kingdom from June to September, in which the ICC Twenty20 World Championship precedes an anticipated Ashes series.

The exhausting year - and a hectic calendar in 2010 - has prompted players to express concern about their careers being shortened, and a lack of time spent with young families.

Players are currently negotiating with Cricket Australia to cut back off-field commitments for more free time, the Daily Telegraph reported.

On the face of it - in 2009 at least - the players have a decent argument. An average worker works about 230 days a year, with weekends, annual leave and public holidays off.

But it would seem the Australian cricket teams busy 2009 is not so much a result of their employers cracking a draconian whip but the flip side to several quiet (ish) years, caused by several postponed tours that now they have to honour.

And as players draw criticism for chasing IPL bucks in their six weeks annual leave, ironically many won”t be able to play in the Twenty20 cash-fest in 2009.

After the busy domestic months of January and February Australia tours South Africa through to late April.

Australia cancelled their tour of Pakistan in March due to safety concerns and are set to play a make-good series of seven one-dayers, possibly in Abu-Dhabi.

In early June Ponting and the Twenty20 guns will fly to England for their world championships. This flows into the Ashes Test series, and a one-day series in September.

The ICC want to then squeeze in the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, postponed last year. October is occupied with a seven-game one-day series in India before Australia’’s 2009-2010 summer gets under way with Tests against the West Indies and Pakistan. (ANI)

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