‘If it keeps going like this, players are going to break down’
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has urged cricket's governing body to help reduce the workload on players competing in all three forms of the game as he fears the current packed schedule is unsustainable.
As the Indian Premier League (IPL) appears set to capitalise on recent International Cricket Council (ICC) changes to the schedule through a "mini IPL" in September, Lehmann fears such a tournament would further restrict time off for his players.
In 2015, Australian cricketers who played all three formats spent on average 280 days overseas. Under Cricket Australia (CA) contracts, players are given a six-week break from commitments, which many use to sign lucrative IPL contracts.
Lehmann said that while the financial incentive to play in India was tempting, it often wore players out and the ICC should use a common sense approach to future scheduling so that the toll on bodies was not too high.
"If it keeps going like this, with players playing IPL as well, they are inevitably going to break down," Lehmann told Australian media on Friday.
"Hopefully changes will happen at the ICC and then you will see a refined schedule which will be better."
Lehmann said while players often consider setting themselves up for life by playing in the IPL, it was a "tough conundrum" for national selectors, as they are reluctant to advise players not to take on out-of-contract commitments.
"If you look across a two-year cycle, all of our players have had to come home at some point," he said, while referring to injuries Steve Smith (wrist) and Mitchell Marsh (hamstring) picked up in the most recent IPL season.
Lehmann believes that while players may be primed to perform under matchday stresses, it was the constant travel, variable conditions and lack of adequate rest which was putting them most at risk.
"It's not so much the cricket, it's the travel to these places. You're on the road, you have training and all that stuff," he said.
The ICC is currently considering the introduction of a two-tiered test Championship and a one-day league, which would go some way to lightening the workload.