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mildwind
April 22, 2006, 08:42 AM
ICC CEO hits back critics of the FTP
Speed speaks out on scheduling and burnout
Martin Williamson
April 22, 2006

Malcolm Speed has hit out at critics who have accused the ICC of apparent indifference to player workloads, stating that they are "quite simply ill-informed and wrong".
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Speed, the ICC chief executive, wrote in an article published on Cricinfo that the ICC was all too aware of the strain on players.

"Avoiding that cycle of problems was one reason why the ICC recently introduced its new six-year Future Tours Program (FTP) to replace the existing five year schedule," he explained. " was put together following extensive consultation and has factored in guidelines, supported at the ICC Cricket Committee, by players at the captains' meeting and by player representatives, including FICA, concerning the highest volume of matches each side should be playing."

He went on to outline the demands on each country, which should mean that no teams should play more than 15 Test matches and 30 ODIs in a 12-month period, although he added that "teams rarely come close to this limit".
But he warned that some of the scheduling was outside the ICC's control and was down to the member countries themselves. "There is a reliance on members to be responsible in scheduling additional commitments above and beyond those required by the FTP - two Tests and three ODIs home and away against each other during the six-year period. The ICC recognizes the need for Members to look to maximize their revenue in order to grow the game ... but, at the same time, they have to be mindful that the players are their prime assets and overworking them would benefit no one in the long run." And Speed said that while the strain of travelling and playing was clear for all to see, he stated that "they are engaged in their career of choice". He continued: "They are doing something that the vast majority of people that watch them in action can only dream of, and they are well-paid too. The current crop of international stars are better rewarded for their efforts than any of their predecessors.

"Players have to realise it is a two-way street. They cannot, on the one hand, complain of playing too much and then turn round and head off for a lucrative spell of English county cricket when there is a break in the schedule." He also pointed out that not all players were unhappy, and some wanted to actually play more. Speed's comments would seem to throw the onus back on the individual boards as it is the extra matches they squeeze into gaps in the schedules - such as the DLF Cup in Abu Dhabi this week - that greatly increase the time spent travelling and playing. What is sure is that this debate is far from over.
[I]Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo
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