Too much cricket spoiling the fun

HARARE - With the advent of so many T20 competitions, as well as the extension of most countries international calendars, the rigours of playing so much cricket for various teams around the world is beginning to take its toll, as most of us feared.

The latest victim to fall to what may turn out to be a career shortening injury, is South African test captain AB de Villiers, who will be undergoing surgery to his elbow, consequently putting him out of cricketing action for the upcoming ODI series against Australia which got underway in South Africa yesterday.

More worrying than that, the super star Protea will also miss South Africa’s away tour to Australia in November, which comprises three Test matches, one of which will be played under lights at the Adelaide Oval.

This undoubtedly leaves an irreplaceable gap in an already brittle middle order, and Hashim Amla will have to rely on a number of players to not only occupy the crease, but to actually score runs as well.

Although the Proteas recorded a convincing win over the New Zealand Black Caps in the second Test match at SuperSport Park, it was mainly down to the excellent bowling, and not so much the batting that secured the Proteas their win.

The likes of Themba Bavuma, who has silenced his critics calls by consistently scoring runs in the middle order, will have to up his game even more and turn those promising 40’s and 50’s into three figure scores, and JP Duminy will have to find a way of dealing with the short pitched bowling which the Aussies will serve up on a platter.

The biggest concern from a South African point is Faf du Plessis who has not only gone through a lean patch of form, but has also gone into survival mode, much like Gary Ballance has done for England.

Du Plessis will naturally be relieved that he was able to score a reasonably well-manufactured 100 against the Black Caps, but he will be up against a vastly different kettle of fish when he squares up against what will almost certainly be a four-pronged Australian pace attack.

The Aussies have also been dealt a few injury blows, and not only do these injuries take the gloss off what should have been a mouth watering contest, but it once again raises the concern of the amount of meaningless cricket currently being played.

Series between all the Test-playing countries from the 1970s up to the early 2000s were mostly mouth-watering contests, even though we had the odd miss match.

The standard of cricket was more competitive and more sincere than today, and that was due to players focusing on playing for their country, and not worrying about their next T20 mercenary assignment, or fatigue.

We will never be able to rid society of the influx of the various T20 tournaments, but hopefully, we could cut down on the schedule of matches, such as Test cricket played in August in South Africa, when in all honesty, the rugby is still in full swing in a rugby-mad country.

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