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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 17:59 UK

Swann worried by cricket schedule

Tough schedule is a concern - Swann

England spinner Graeme Swann says more players might start "prioritising their cricket" if the amount of cricket played across the world is not reduced.

England embark on a two-month tour of South Africa next month, soon after Test and one-day series against Australia and the Champions Trophy.

"The last two weeks have been our first weeks off in virtually 12 months and it is hard," Swann told BBC Sport.

"If we play too much, people are going to think, 'hold on, I need a break'."

A chronic knee injury prompted all-rounder Andrew Flintoff to retire from Test cricket following the recent Ashes series, although he is still available for one-day and Twenty20 matches.

It would be nice to get a few days to put your feet up rather than have to put your training kit on and go down the gym

Graeme Swann

Flintoff, 31, has also turned down the offer of an incremental central contract from the England and Wales Cricket Board, in order to have more control over his own schedule.

He was not the first player in international cricket to prioritise in this way, but there are fears many more will follow his lead as the calendar becomes more and more cluttered.

In addition, Andrew Strauss, who has barely had a break since being named England Test and one-day captain in January, has admitted he may miss this winter's tour of Bangladesh in February and March.

After the tour to Bangladesh, England will contest the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean at the beginning of May before fulfilling programmes against Bangladesh and Pakistan at home and attempting to retain the Ashes in Australia.

On top of international commitments, the recent Twenty20 boom has seen the introduction of the Indian Premier League and the Champions League.

"It would be nice to get a few days to put your feet up rather than have to put your training kit on and go down the gym," said Nottinghamshire off-spinner Swann.


"It's like anything, the more you do it, the more blasé you become about it.

"The greatest thing for me is I've only been back involved with the England team so it's still new and exciting to me. We're paid to do this and it's a brilliant job, so I'm not complaining.

"But I can understand fully guys who have been playing four or five years who start thinking 'I'm desperate for a break'. [And when players start] prioritising their cricket, that's dangerous."

Swann added that there should have been a suitable gap between England regaining the Ashes and the one-day series that followed - which England lost 6-1 - in order to promote the sport.

"The one-day series against Australia was hard coming so soon after the Ashes, we didn't have time to celebrate winning them back," added Swann.

"That's one of the thing we missed out on, going straight into the one-day series rather than celebrating properly and getting the whole nation behind the team and promoting the sport a bit more. I think we missed a trick there."

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see also
Strauss may miss Bangladesh tour
11 Oct 09 |  England
Flintoff agrees to England agenda
28 Sep 09 |  England
Flintoff rejects England contract
15 Sep 09 |  England
Flintoff issues burnout warning
16 Jul 09 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket

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