Players go extra miles on South Africa tour

England have assignments over all formats in seven countries

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The Independent Online

This is the start of a relentless period for England’s cricketers.

Its culmination was confirmed yesterday with the announcement of the schedule for a tour of South Africa.

That will start in December 2015 and contain four Test matches, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20s, a typical modern tour crammed into 10 weeks. By the end of it there will be many weary cricketers.

England have assignments over all formats in seven countries. Starting with the one-day tour of Sri Lanka, they have a jam-packed schedule.

Early in January they embark on a triangular series in Australia, significant as preparation for the World Cup that follows. Four days after the end of that tournament (though it is difficult to see England being detained until the final) they begin a three Test tour of the West Indies.

Two weeks after arriving home in May, they begin a brief Test series against New Zealand which acts as a curtain-raiser to the Ashes. Some time they also have to fit in a one-dayer in Ireland. Barely have Australia departed than England follow for an autumn tour in the UAE where they will play three Test matches against Pakistan, as well as an undecided number of ODIs and T20s.

Between April 2015 and January 2016 they will play 17 Tests and between this month and February 2016 at least 35 ODIs. There is not the remotest chance of any one player appearing in the lot.

Paul Downton the managing director of England cricket said: “As the Proteas currently set the benchmark in Test and ODI cricket it will be a real challenge which our emerging team will relish.” By then they might all be too knackered and world weary to relish anything but home.

Packed schedule: England’s Itinerary

Tour of Sri Lanka

26 Nov-16 Dec, seven ODIs

ODI Tri-series, Australia 2015

18-30 Jan: Four matches. Final on 1 Feb 

World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand 

14 Feb-29 Mar (final) 

Test tour of Caribbean, 2015

13 April-5 May: Three Tests

New Zealand in UK 2015

21 May-2 June: Two Tests

9-23 June: Five ODIs

23 June: T20 fixture

Australia in UK 2015

8 July-24 Aug: Five Tests

31 Aug-T20 fixture

3-13 Sep: 5 ODIs

Tour of UAE 2015

October and November (tbc): Three Tests, ODIs, T2os

Tour of South Africa 2016

2-26 Jan: Three Tests

3-14 Feb: Five ODIs

19-21 Feb: Two T20s