Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has criticised Pakistan's international schedule, claiming that the team would be too tired before the World Cup in the West Indies begins in March. "Unfortunately, in today's merry-go-round, I think you can call it, tour itineraries are just nonsensical," he said.
Pakistan's current tour of South Africa includes three back-to-back Tests and five one-dayers, a cramped schedule compared to India's tour which preceded this series. "They've got to sit down and really think it through. I'm particularly worried that the World Cup comes so soon after a three day Test series and five one-day internationals crammed into just over a month.
"The modern coach is going to have to factor in a completely different way of structuring practices and structuring tours in order to cope with this situation. This all makes winning away from home very tough."
Woolmer hoped that all the individual cricket boards take player issues into consideration before drawing up itineraries, especially before important tournaments like the World Cup. With Pakistan's final one-dayer scheduled for February 14, they have barely three weeks to recuperate before the World Cup warm-up matches get underway. Woolmer had requested that Pakistan play just one Test instead of three, mainly to avoid player fatigue.
"I think it could be a bridge too far for a lot of our players and I'm really worried about it," Woolmer said. "There's so little time to prepare. In the past, you would have a couple of four-day games; you'd have 10 or 11 days in the nets, and then you'd walk into the first Test match. Now you have to adapt as best you can to the conditions.