T20 World Cup champion Moeen Ali has blasted cricket administrators for the England team’s “horrible” schedule, which robbed the players of a chance to celebrate their historic triumph.
On Sunday evening, England defeated Pakistan by five wickets in front of 80,462 spectators at the MCG to become the first men’s team to simultaneously possess the ODI and T20 World Cup trophies.
But less than 24 hours later, several of England’s white-ball players were boarding a plane to Adelaide ahead of a contextless one-day series against Australia.
Watch Australia v England. Every ODI live and ad-break free in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
The three ODIs between England and Australia are not part of the World Cup Super League, which serves as qualification for next year’s 50-over tournament in India, meaning the matches are essentially inconsequential friendlies.
Ali, who combined with fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes for a crucial 48-run partnership during Sunday’s final, lamented that England’s players would not have time to process the victory.
“It’s been happening for a while; when we won in 2019, we had the Ashes two weeks later and a Test match against Ireland 10 days after winning,” Ali told reporters on Sunday evening.
“Those kind of things are a shame. As a group, we want to enjoy and celebrate and have that because you put so much into it as well.
“It’s not just while the tournament’s going on, it’s pre-tournament, your build-up and all that.
“Having a game in three days’ time is horrible, but it’s better than two days if it got rained off.
“As players we’re kind of used to it now … but to give 100 per cent all the time is difficult when you’re playing every two or three days.
“Well, we have to do it and while we’re here we might as well do it — it would be better than going back and then having to come back out another time.”
Stokes, whose unbeaten 52 in the tournament finale steered England to victory, will not travel to Adelaide this week having retired from ODI cricket earlier this year.
The 31-year-old’s announcement stunned the cricket community at the time, but it’s quickly become apparent that representing England in all three formats is untenable.
Between June 2022 and March 2023, England is scheduled to play 12 Tests, 18 ODIs, 19 bilateral T20Is and the T20 World Cup – over 100 days of international cricket. During those 10 months, England will tour Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Bangladesh.
Even the lure of defending England’s title at next year’s World Cup in India wasn’t enough to entice Stokes to commit any of his finite time and energy to 50-over cricket.
As a result, one of the cricket’s most recognisable players won’t feature in the sport’s marquee tournament, despite still being in his prime.
“We’re not cars when you can just fill up with petrol or diesel,” Stokes told Sky Sports in July.
On Tuesday morning, Australian Test captain Pat Cummins announced he would skip next year’s Indian Premier League due to the sport’s packed schedule, potentially sacrificing millions.
“You see people win premierships in AFL or NRL, and they go on a two-week bender,” Cummins said last year.
“Whereas in cricket you come to the end of a Test series and everyone’s ready to go home and sleep for a few days”.
Later on Tuesday, pace bowler David Willey, a member of England’s T20 World Cup and ODI squads, withdrew from the upcoming Big Bash League, leaving the Sydney Thunder without its platinum signing.
“No doubt it will be hard for them,” Australian cricketer Travis Head told reporters at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.
“They’ve come off a huge high … it’s going to be tough for them, but then again you’re playing for your country.
“That’s a personal thing, and guys go about it in different ways.”
The ODI series opener at Adelaide Oval, which gets underway at 2.20pm AEDT on Thursday afternoon, marks the start of Cummins’ tenure as 50-over captain after taking the reins from Aaron Finch, who retired from the format in September.
Head will replace Finch at the top of order, partnering with veteran opener David Warner for the first time since 2018.
“So now 12 months out from one to get my chance to be in the team is an exciting opportunity,” Head said.
“But it‘s trying to not put too much pressure on myself to do something different.
“I have had some really good success at the top. So I don‘t want to change that and my mindset around that.
“I have played a lot of one-day cricket to know what is expected of me and what is expected to go out and perform.
“You can’t look too far ahead, there is a lot of cricket to come. I just want to start really well on Thursday and play my role as best as I can.”
Story Credit: news.com.au