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Smith, Ponting warn of player burnout due to Twenty20

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DURBAN, South Africa, Mar 23 (Reuters) South African captain Graeme Smith and Australia's Ricky Ponting believe the inaugural Twenty20 world championship will increase the dangers of player burnout.

The International Cricket Council said yesterday that England would probably host the tournament in 2009.

''The scheduling is the players' biggest worry,'' Smith told a news conference on the eve of the second test against Australia.

''At the moment the scheduling is bordering on being ridiculous at times.

''Players need to find a bit of time for rest if you want to keep the best players on the park for as long as possible, and have the most exciting games.'' Smith predicted an increase in injuries if a significant number of matches were added to the international schedule.

''Bowlers will probably get injured more often if we play more Twenty20 cricket, they'll probably want to sit on the sideline,'' Smith said today.

''A lot of our injuries have been over-use injuries.

''We're at the back end of a long, intense season, we've had no soft games, and the workload we've had has taken its toll. So if they're adding more cricket to that they need to be clever about it.'' Since the beginning of the year South Africa have played two tests, 13 one-day internationals and two 20-over internationals.

That adds up to 23 days of cricket.

Australia have played two tests, 16 one-dayers and two 20-over internationals over the same period, which repres ents 28 days spent on the field.

''The programming has been pretty tight the last couple of years and I'm sure that quite a few players worldwide would be concerned about another tournament being included,'' Ponting told a news conference.

Ponting recognised the potential that cricket's shortest format held for increasing the game's popularity.

''I think we know how big a part of international cricket Twenty20 is going to be,'' Ponting said. ''We've played a few international games now which have been sellouts.

''England have used it in their domestic competitions for a while and the crowds haven't dropped off whatsoever.

''It's a very exciting and innovative new game and it's attracting different people to the game.'' Reuters PDS DB2112

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