The England & Wales Cricket Board has effectively stuck two fingers up to the two main recommendations of the Schofield Report.
The report suggested that burnout was inevitable for the leading England cricketers and that the county game could only improve if the 100-day programme spread over four competitions was reduced to let the players rest, practise, play and analyse properly - thus providing a proper learning curve for future England cricketers.
Weasel words, as proven by this itinerary for the next 41 months leading up to the first Ashes Test in this country in 2009. England tour New Zealand in February, March and April, followed by a return series in May and June. They then play South Africa in July and August, followed by a trip to Pakistan for the wretched Champions Trophy. They round off the year with a tour of India, including three Tests, seven one-day internationals and who knows how many Twenty20 matches?
In 2009, they tour West Indies from February to April before hosting Australia for the next Ashes series.
The claim by the ECB that they are only fulfilling necessary commitments established by the ICC is pure rubbish. The ICC directive is that each country must play each other home and away inside six years, but the England and Indian boards are doing it after two-and-a-half years.
Never mind the Indian rope trick, the two boards have turned the sacred animal of India into nothing other than a cash-cow and the cricketers can like it or lump it.
And if the ECB are to be believed, why have only 36 Tests been played worldwide in 2007, with England playing 12 of them and New Zealand only two, with Australia going six months without a Test match?
These are the grisly statistics facing the England team in the next 12 months. They play 13 five-day Tests, 22 ODIs, at least six Twenty20s plus the Champions Trophy in September in Pakistan. That is roughly 100 days of international cricket in 11 months, starting on February 5 2008, in four different countries on three continents.
That's 100 days out of 320 and that does not include travel and pre-match practice. It is stupid and unnecessary and only brought about by sacrifice of everything in the hunt for more money. Small wonder that players such as Kevin Pietersen say they are not robots and no wonder at all that an international contest is losing its ability to stir the players any more.
They can bleat away about the honour of playing for their country, but they are only human and are rapidly sinking into a mind-set in which there is always tomorrow.
Another spurious ECB claim is the one that the money chased over the rainbow is essential to the coffers of county clubs if they are to develop the next generation of England cricketers. Far too much of the wealth goes into the pockets of overseas cricketers.
The performance in Sri Lanka was predictable, almost to the point of the England players being punch drunk. They could not even think properly, hence their awful over-rate in the Galle Test which led to referee Jeff Crowe fining captain Michael Vaughan 40 per cent of his match fee and the players 20 per cent.
To turn in 13.2 an hour instead of the mandatory 15 was unforgivable and this quote was made to me by a famous media man by telephone from the other side of the world on Christmas Day.
"I am surprised at the amount of the fine." "Do you mean it was too heavy?" "No. It should have been 100 per cent for everyone, not only for robbing the public but for tactical madness in a game they had to win."
England have slumped from a comfortable lead in second in the world rankings to fifth and goodness knows where they might be in 21 months' time when they will have followed their 2008 workload with a tour of the West Indies, followed by the next Ashes tour here.