Players' comfort?

Monday 31 July 2006 1:29 PM

News of an impending Asian "warm-up" series for Australia's cricketers sounds great for this cricket fan. It would sound even better had I not read Good Weekend's (29/7) extract of Paul Barry's assessment of Shane Warne. The players' families will see their loved ones spasmodically through summer, and otherwise little if at all for 2 or 3 months either side.

Few cricketers would match Warne for promiscuity. (Presumably!) But Barry's extract highlights some alarming personal impacts of the punishing schedule faced by top-level cricketers universally. The rate of marriage and relationship breakdown in our community is a blight on us already. But it would be infinitely worse if all Australians spent as much time away from partner and children as our national side spends on tour.

Marital unfaithfulness, contrary to popular myth, is not an inevitability for libidinous blokes. (Your testosterone didn't make you do it.) It's a choice, and men must accept responsibility for it (even if the bustline was rather low). But the cricket authorities, the media and we fans are not faultless either. We expect our boys to thrill us with half a year's scintillating cricket. Some things really do matter more. Sporting pride is poor compensation for shattered trust. Think again, Australia.