Opinion: Cricket World Cup's drawn out schedule leaves fans with a week to forget

WAITING GAME: After Saturday's thrilling win over the Aussies in Auckland, Trent Boult and the Black Caps aren't back in ...
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WAITING GAME: After Saturday's thrilling win over the Aussies in Auckland, Trent Boult and the Black Caps aren't back in action until this Sunday when they play Afghanistan in Napier.

OPINION: 

After the glory comes the snore. This is where the Cricket World Cup starts to get tedious for the Black Caps and their growing army of fans.

If waiting more than a week for New Zealand's much-hyped clash with Australia was hard work, waiting another week for their next match will be even more difficult.

After the enduring the heart-stopping win over the Aussies, Black Caps supporters must now wait till Sunday for the tangle with Afghanistan in Napier. Then it's Bangladesh the following Friday in Hamilton.

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We warned that this was going to be a drawn out affair with a six-week schedule drawing plenty of criticism.

The justification for those barbs is now starting to hit home for New Zealand fans.

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Quite simply, two matches in two weeks is too few.

Thank goodness for the blazing bats of McCullum and co and the blistering bowling of Trent Bolt and Tim Southee. They've made for fast games because the rest of it is all a bit of a dawdle

New Zealand haven't even needed to go beyond 11 players through their opening four matches.

Today there is no play at all. It's the first rest day of the tournament. Why?

In a sport where players are able to front for five consecutive days in test matches, surely this schedule could have been squeezed up. The Blacks Caps play six pool matches in 28 days. Given the luxury of operating at home, they are now enjoying their second "holiday" of the tournament already, sent home to spend some time with their families.

A World Cup shouldn't afford luxuries like that. It should put some heat on squads and keep the pulses beating of players and fans.

Look at the rest of this week – South Africa v Ireland, Australia v Afghanistan, Pakistan v United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh v Scotland – before there's a bit of a heavyweight feel again next weekend.

Right now, apart from some alarming batting moments, the schedule might be the Black Caps' biggest worry.

Do they stick with their winning formula or do they give some other players a couple of cameos against the minnows?

Can they maintain their menacing momentum while they get so much time to cool their heels?

Don't forget, after their last pool game against Bangladesh, they must wait an onerous eight days for a quarterfinal they have already been pencilled in for, at Wellington's Cake Tin on Saturday, March 21.

The next three weeks are going to be a period when the performance of the management of the Blacks Caps will be as important as the efforts of the players.

Keeping them fit and fresh won't be a problem. Holding their focus will be the key.

The last phase of the tournament is going to be a furious affair with all seven of the playoffs matches done in 12 days.

It's just getting to that stage that is going to be painful.

 - Stuff

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