The burden of workload on modern cricketers: Fact or fiction?

Following the recent debates about who should replace David Warner as Australia’s opener, there is speculation that Cameron Green’s form suffered in the Ashes due to fatigue stemming from a heavy workload. This workload included two Tests and a couple of one-dayers in India, followed by a full IPL season. Stuart Broad had once suggested considering the 2021-22 Ashes null and void due to the oppressive COVID travel restrictions that imposed hardships on the players.

While staying in first-class hotels with bio-bubbles and spending time with their families in the balmy English winter, the players were paid handsomely. Paul Collingwood had claimed that the England cricketers deserved medals for their hefty workload. They endured more than 90 days on the field in 2021. Australia’s Glenn Maxwell had also highlighted the burden of constant playing and traveling while making around $30,000 per day in the field. Having been moved by their sacrifice, the author lobbied both countries’ Prime Ministers to mint a special Broady-Colly-Maxy medal in honor of their gallantry.

In contrast to the current players, legends like Jacques Kallis and Richard Hadlee had much busier schedules with matches and travel in the past. A comparison was made between Green’s workload and the workloads of Kallis and Hadlee in two different time spans, 1996-97 and 1985-86, respectively. It was found that Green’s workload was significantly less than that of the two legends.

The article also examines the workload of Allan Border, Bill Lawry, and the 1878 Australian team to provide a historical perspective on modern-day players’ schedules. It concludes that contemporary players might need to reconsider their complaints about workload and fatigue when compared to the rigorous schedules endured by past cricketers.