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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 September 2006, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
Harmison voices burn-out concerns
Steve Harmison
With the amount of time we are away from home and the amount of cricket we are playing, there is going to be a price to pay and a casualty

Steve Harmison
England fast bowler Steve Harmison fears players may have to quit the game prematurely because of burn-out.

His comments follow team-mate Marcus Trescothick's decision to opt out of the ICC Champions Trophy because he has a stress-related illness.

"People have got to understand we are not robots," said Harmison.

"Somebody at the height of his powers is going to prematurely lose his career. I just hope and pray it's not going to be Marcus."

Harmison, talking to the Mail on Sunday, added: "It gives me no pleasure to say this, but with the amount of time we are away from home and the amount of cricket we are playing, there is going to be a price to pay and a casualty."

England's squad has been decimated since the end of last summer's triumphant Ashes series against Australia.

Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Ashley Giles and James Anderson are all recuperating from serious injuries.

And Harmison himself has played no part in England's current one-day series against Pakistan because of a back problem, having had to return home from the tour to India earlier this year because of bone stress in his right shin.

The International Cricket Council has begun a special research project into the subject of burn-out.

But chief executive Malcolm Speed made it clear when the initiative was announced in July that they believe some countries should be looking to schedule more international cricket, not less.

"When the schedules of our members are looked at over the course of the forthcoming six years, only three teams come close to reaching the players' recommended upper limit (of 15 Tests and 30 ODIs in any 12-month period) - Australia, England and India," he said.

England have a high-pressure winter ahead with an Ashes tour to Australia and the World Cup in the West Indies following the Champions Trophy.

It will be particularly tough for Harmison, who has openly admitted to suffering from homesickness on previous trips.

"Some people are made for touring and being away from home and some people aren't. I'm not.

"And although I believe I have found a way to deal with my homesickness and never felt unable to play because of it, I cannot honestly say I won't have down times in Australia."

SEE ALSO
Harmison ruled out of one-dayers
20 Aug 06 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
19 Apr 06 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2006
27 Apr 06 |  Cricket


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