AUSTRALIA'S captain Ricky Ponting has warned of a "really dangerous" situation for the future of Test match cricket with all sorts of distractions and dangers threatening the game.
"Thereís a really dangerous thing going on at the moment," Ponting says in a major interview in the April issue of The Wisden Cricketer
magazine. "I gave the Bradman Oration last year and I stated that what I want for the next generation of Australians is to do what Iíve done -- play 150 Tests and represent their country for a long time. But something in the back of my head says that their focus could switch from that to being attracted by the glitz and glamour of Twenty20 and the money that might be around."
Australiaís leader is also concerned that world cricketís top executives do not understand the impact of work-load. "Administrators just donít see burn-out," he said. "Players are the only ones who know when they can get themselves up to 100 per cent. As an international sportsman you donít want to be playing when youíre not at your absolute best.
"In the last few months quite a few of our players have been on the edge of not being able to get themselves up to 100 per cent all the time. Someone like Mike Hussey would have played as much as anybody around, I reckon."
In the same interview Ponting says he is amazed there have not been road accident fatalities as a result of the interminable travel associated with county cricket. He said he had a great time playing for Somerset in 2004, but that he was only there for six weeks. "By the end of that it was pretty difficult to get up all the time," he said.
"I drove from Taunton to Durham, Taunton to Scarborough Ė you canít get much further than that. Itís just amazing that there havenít been more fatalities on the roads after county games. I had to pull over a few times on the way back from games. It has to be very difficult for guys playing as many games as they do."
The April issue of The Wisden Cricketer
, the worldís best-selling cricket monthly, is on sale at leading outlets from March 13.