Cricket: Workload for bowlers 'too punishing'

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FANIE DE VILLIERS, the South African fast bowler, believes that the workload heaped on English bowlers is a main reason for England's poor recent record.

De Villiers, here for the Test series against England later this summer, spent one season with Kent four years ago.

'Their (England's) system is punishing their own players,' he said at a Sports Writers' Association lunch in London yesterday. 'It is good for the batsmen to get as much time in the middle as possible, but when it comes down to the bowlers, they are struggling. They play with injuries and can get away with it because they are performing on different wickets. You can hold back a bit and be economical.

'I had a terrible season with Kent. We played so many games. I couldn't warm up properly because I was so stiff and sore and I never bowled at full pace. I got back home and was compeletely stuffed.'