Proteas had 'light' workload

2010-08-19 12:07
Jacques Kallis (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - South Africa’s leading international cricketers ought to enter the new season fresher than most, if statistics are to be believed.

The Cricinfo website has run a list of which players worldwide have had the most days of major competition between August 16 last year and the corresponding date in 2010, revealing that the Proteas have come off pretty lightly in the period.

The poll confesses to not being wholly accurate because it assumes for Tests that all matches have lasted the full five days, which is obviously not always the case for weather reasons or when there are early finishes.

But it is enlightening all the same, and shows that Australians have generally had the most punishing year: in the list of the top 20 busiest cricketers for the period under scrutiny, five Aussie players crack the top six – Shane Watson (111 days), Mike Hussey (105), Mitchell Johnson (95), Michael Clarke (92) and Ricky Ponting (91).

Included for purposes of the survey are Tests, one-day internationals, Twenty20 internationals, Indian Premier League matches and contests in the Champions League T20.

The most heavily-burdened top-flight cricketer on the planet, all-rounder Watson, was listed as having completed 11 Tests (thus given as 55 days), 37 ODIs, 13 T20 internationals and six days of IPL competition.

Australian dominance of the top six slots is broken up only by India’s MS Dhoni in the No 4 position (94 days).

South Africans, by contrast, had a less busy year than usual, with Jacques Kallis the first entrant on the poll as low as No 15, and 82 days.
His breakdown was nine Tests (45 days), 12 ODIs, seven T20 internationals, 16 IPL games and two in the Champions League.

He is followed by national team-mates AB de Villiers in 17th spot (77 days) and Graeme Smith in 19th (69 days).

The top 20 comprises seven Indians in total, five Australians, three South Africans and three Sri Lankans, and two English players.

South Africa’s best cricketers have had a reasonable off-season this year, including the opportunity for a recent “conditioning camp”.

Their main business of the 2010/11 summer, ahead of the World Cup, is a three-Test home series against India.

Leading up to it, the Indians must still play two home Tests against Australia and three against New Zealand, while the Proteas’ only prior five-day assignments will be two Tests against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates during November.

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