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Last Updated:  Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 10:20 GMT

England seek home rest
Hussain, Nick Knight and Matthew Hoggard
The tour has become an endurance test for England
England's weary players are trying to persuade officials at Lord's to allow them a few days rest at home before embarking on their World Cup campaign.

Some members of the squad have been on tour in Australia since mid-October.

They have had formal requests for a break turned down by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

England seem to have played far, far too much cricket
Andrew, New Zealand

But Richard Bevan of the Professional Cricketers' Association will meet ECB chief executive Tim Lamb on Friday with the aim of pressing their case.

The ECB insist that, for "a variety of reasons", the squad should make their way to South Africa immediately after the end of the one-day VB Series.

If England were to take the best-of-three finals to a third match the party would not leave Australia until 28 January.

It's not like a naughty school kid asking permission to go home
Nasser Hussain

And, with their first warm-up game in South Africa scheduled for 4 February, they would have no more than five days to spend at home.

However, if only two matches in this series are required, Nasser Hussain's team would finish their commitments in Melbourne on Saturday.

Hussain has been in Australia longer than any of his teammates, having flown out early for the birth of his son.

"There's three or four days' break between the end of this tournament and the beginning of the World Cup.

"Some of the boys have asked me, as captain, if they can pop home for three or four days to empty their suitcases after three or four months away, clear Australia out of their system, start afresh and get on a fresh flight to South Africa," said Hussain.

"I don't see why that's a major story. I'd like to have three days at home if that's possible. Is it too much to ask?"

"As a team we're trying to work out what's best.

"For some that means going to Port Elizabeth and having three days on the golf course, for some it might be going to the gym, for others, after four months away, it might just be three days of sitting on a couch at home."

Links to more World Cup stories


BBC Five Live's Pat Murphy
"A break would suit England players"

Richard Bevan of the PCA
"They may be better relaxing by going to South Africa early"

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