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