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Cricket Burnout or Burnt Out!
by Gulu Ezekiel
Jan 05, 2007
David Shepherd's recently expressed fears about "umpire burnout" following the near-on-field by English umpire Mark Benson during the Durban Test got me thinking about the huge amount of international cricket being played.

The (apparent) mental collapse of England opener Marcus Trescothick even before a ball had been bowled in the Ashes series and the recent spate of retirements had me digging through the record books and the results are frankly staggering.

Now since the ICC's elite umpiring panel has nine umpires after the recent "removal" of controversial Australian umpire Darrell Hair the workload is that much more. The number will now go down to eight as Benson will shortly be taken off the panel too. And the stress is beginning to show as the blunders during the Cape Town Test have proved.

The first Test match was held at Melbourne in March 1877 between Australia and England.

It took a further 31 years before the 100th Test match was staged -the 5th Test between the two traditional rivals at Sydney in February 1908.

Melbourne also happened to host the 500th Test and this was between Australia and the West Indies from 30 December 1960 to 3 January 1961.

It was in March 1977 that the cricket world celebrated the 100th anniversary of Test cricket by staging the famous Centenary Test between Australia and England at the MCG and by coincidence that happened to be the 800th Test match ever staged.

In another wonderful coincidence that Test also ended in the identical result as 100 years earlier-Australia winning by 45 runs.

Hyderabad (Sind) turned out to be the venue for the 1,000th Test match from 25-29 November 1984. It pitted Pakistan against New Zealand.

The ongoing Test between India and South Africa at Cape Town is the 1,827th Test to be staged.

What this means is it took 100 years for 800 Test matches to be held and just 29 years for a further 1,000. The 1,800th Test match was at Cape Town between New Zealand and South Africa from 27 April to 1 May 2006!

If you think that is a mind-boggling amount of cricket-nearly 35 Test matches every year from 1977 to 2006-wait till you digest the enormous growth of One-day Internationals.

Here is the chronological list:
ODI No. One: Australia v. England, Melbourne, 5/1/71.
ODI No. 500: Australia v New Zealand, Sydney, 20/1/88.
ODI No. 1,000: England v West Indies, the Oval, 26/5/95.
ODI No. 1,500: Pakistan v West Indies, Toronto, 16/9/99.
ODI No. 2,000: Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Sharjah, 10/3/03.
Latest ODI (No. 2,470): Sri Lanka: v New Zealand, Christchurch, 2/1/07.

In other words, over 1,500 ODIs will have been staged between the Oval in May 1995 and March 2007 by the time the World Cup begins in the West Indies. That works out to approximately 136 games per year over this 11-year period.

So is the ICC contemplating slowing down? You must be kidding! Don't forget 2007 will also see the inaugural 20/20 World Cup thrust upon the cricket world.

Burnout out anyone?
More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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