|Thursday, 24 January 2002|
National players ordered to take a break from cricket
by Sa'adi Thawfeeq
If the national cricketers are missing from their respective clubs when the Premier trophy Super League and Plate round commencing tomorrow, don't blame them.
They have been asked to take a vacation from cricket and recharge their batteries after a lengthy season of international cricket, which has left some of them on the verge of breaking down.
The order has come from coach Dav Whatmore in conjunction with physio Alex Kountouri and it has received the full recommendation of the Cricket Board's interim committee.
"Apart from recharging their batteries the break will also give the players the chance to reflect on the international program that lies ahead of them," said Whatmore.
"We have identified the effect of the physical workloads the players will be subjected to in the future and are trying to regulate the workload," he said.
"The decision to rest the players was taken in the interest of the individual players and Sri Lanka cricket," said Whatmore.
"We just finished a successful season of international cricket, but at a cost. There has been signs of wear and tear in some players while some are on the verge of breaking down," he said.
The national players will miss out two weekends of cricket beginning from tomorrow, but will be free to represent their clubs thereafter with the exception of three players.
Fast bowlers Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa and Buddhika Fernando will play only three matches the most.
Whatmore said training for the on-coming international season begins on Monday and he wanted the players to at least be away from competitive cricket for two weekends.
The international schedule Sri Lanka face is a tough one. They will be subjected to 14 months of intense cricket starting with the one-day tournament in Sharjah in April and followed by three Tests and the one-day triangular in England, two Tests and three one-day internationals at home against Bangladesh, the ICC knockout tournament probably in Sri Lanka, a vist to Sharjah again, two Tests and one-day triangular in South Africa, one-day triangular in Australia and the World Cup in South Africa in February-March 2003.
"My sympathies are with the clubs for not being able to play their national cricketers. I fully understand the club-player relationship and what a player who has been nurtured by the club to reach national status means to them. But the magnitude of the situation is such that it cannot be avoided," said Whatmore.
Whatmore said if the national cricketers are to be kept sharp and in shape to undertake the tours that lie ahead of them to perform with some degree of success, the break away from cricket was essential.
The players had completed a successful six months of non-stop cricket beginning from July 18 with the Coca Cola one-day triangular till the end of the Test series against Zimbabwe on January 15. During that period they played 10 Tests and 17 one-day internationals.
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