Viewers, fans and addicts alike can, courtesy of television and sponsors, watch any time of the year: the Australian Big Bash, the English T20 and the most prestigious of all, the IPL series.
This offspring of ODI cricket (One Day Cricket) has been secreted in to an already overloaded schedule. The top players such as AB Devilliers are expected to fulfil their international obligations including ODI, Test series, and T20 not to mention events such as the ODI and T20 World Cups. If that isn't enough he plays for his IPL team the Royal Challenges.
The expression "cricket widows" has never been more apt than it is to day. Cricketers are expected to sacrifice their family and friends to the gods of professional cricket.
It is glaringly apparent that the players feel the strain. Former English captain Freddie Flintoff revealed his battle with depression and drinking during the woeful 2006/07 Ashes Series.
All this cricket is great for supporters' seemingly insatiable appetite of Colosseum-like proportions.
Are we asking too much?
However are we asking too much of our heroes who are so valued and esteemed by the sports-loving public?
There is much glamour associated with cricket such as the TV advert for the last Ashes Series. The English cricket team is seen rallying around Ian Botham, with frenzied/piercing music winding up the tension to a fever pitch as Botham delivers the last epic speech before battle commences.
Botham's words, "Your country has called you, and honoured you, now you must honour them". They are uttered in the context of the promotion of cricket but with the same intensity as if it were a matter of national security, rather than a sporting event. Where is our sense of perspective?
I suspect that this weight of expectation by the public and media is felt keenly by cricket's top athletes.
There are many challenges awaiting eager professional hopefuls, some subtle and some blatant, some intimidating and some nothing short of character compromising temptations.
The modern day cricketers inevitably are in the public eye and are expected by superhuman management to handle themselves well on camera as well as behave with decorum on a night out of celebration or commiseration. And when they slip up, the media, who set them up in the first place to appease their own need for sensation, proceed to demolish them in a perfunctory, humiliating and dismissive manner.
Headlines that scream out a young cricketer's name for all the wrong reasons, and there are plenty of them, such as after a night out on the town. One almost feels like screaming John 8:7 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone..'
Cricketers are obliged to play relentlessly, day in day out in order for their contract to be renewed the following season. This type of pressure to perform is seldom found outside of sport, except for perhaps actors who may empathise with the best of our young athletes.
We must acknowledge that yes, our heroes are talented, dedicated, iron willed, but they are human and not demi gods and to coin a phrase "to err is human". They do not ask to be deified – the fault is in the idolaters and the more unscrupulous mammon - minded elements who would treat them as commodities for financial gain.
Therefore we must extend the same grace to them as we would to our erring neighbours and to ourselves when we make mistakes. We have not lived in a perfect world since the days of The Garden of Eden
Mr Johan Volsteedt, former headmaster of Grey College South Africa was known for his saying, "Sport is an important training ground for life and that you will live the way you play your cricket or rugby."
One of his most famous pupils, Hansie Cronje although infamous for the small part he was reputed to have played in match-fixing, is rightly celebrated even after his fall from grace, as a man of humility and integrity.
I believe much can be learned from Hansie's character.
Hansie had a faith in God that surpassed the fierce passion and love for winning. His faith was the backbone of his recovery from one the most traumatic experiences a leader and a role model could go through. After a year of depression caused by shame and ignominy, he listened to his father's retelling of the parable of the Lost Son.
A more courageous path
Suicide was an obvious option, but Hansie took the more courageous path of accepting the forgiveness of his wife Boethe, team mates Jonti Rhodes, his father, mother and brother, and ultimately of the South African public.
Growing up in a warm home where cricket was combined with hospitality, he knew the value of making cricket his servant and not his master. He knew that he was fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
He recognised that his 68 tests and 188 ODIs were God given opportunities to glorify not himself, but his beloved maker and that just as surely as his home was the setting to draw people in to his family. International Cricket was the setting to draw people in to Jesus' family and Kingdom of God.
Richard Arbon is an engineering student, a Northern Territory cricketer and is developing a Christian fellowship for like minded sportsmen and women in Darwin.
Richard Arbon's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/richard-arbon.html