England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive David Collier has defended the amount of time players spend on international duty.

There has been some criticism the England squad is playing too much cricket and spending too long on tour - the winter series in Pakistan and India were particularly punishing.

During those two series England lost captain Michael Vaughan and fast bowlers Simon Jones and Steve Harmison to injury.

Coach Duncan Fletcher has expressed his concern about ensuring his squad do not experience burn-out and he rested stand-in captain Andrew Flintoff for the two dead matches at the end of the India one-day series because of the all-rounder's heavy workload.

In the next nine months, England play two home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the Champions Trophy in India, the Ashes defence in Australia and the World Cup in India.

However, Collier said the ECB were doing their best in managing the situation.

"There is a limit of 15 Tests and 30 one-day internationals around the world which was respected in the Future Tours programme," he said.

"That is the guideline certainly England are sticking to and we are actually consider-ably less than that in terms of Test matches and one-day internationals.

"We cannot do anything to lessen the impact of the tours but I think one of the things where England is different to every other nation is that we are playing more or less 12 months of the year.

"That means we do have bigger gaps between our games than other nations but there is not an extended period of break that some of the other teams have.

"So that was one of the reasons why players have been rested and that seems to work well."

And Collier said there were some positives to take from the absence of experienced players for the one-day series in India.

"It has given Duncan an opportunity to look at the players who are on the fringes of selection for the World Cup and that will give us a much stronger squad going into the World Cup build-up," he added.

There also appears to be some good news for England fans desperate to get hold of tickets for the winter' Ashes tour in Australia.

When Cricket Australia first announced the allocation there were fears raised not enough had been made available for the expected huge number of travelling supporters.

However, Collier revealed negotiations were taking place to improve that.

"We have had discussions [and] we are still hopeful of working with Cricket Australia to obtain a higher proportion of tickets as we go into the beginning of May/June."