Rotation: CA and Mickey Arthur Say Sit on This and Rotate!

Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur has basically told the media “sit on this and rotate”. He may well be frustrated by the persistent criticism of CA’s rotation policy, but imagine how ticket holders feel, many of whom bought tickets well in advance. And could there be other detrimental effects that outweigh the good intentions?

talk-to-the-handjpg-71824e3129d16207_largeThere is a lot that doesn’t quite add up with the policy. If, for example, they know “who the best team is” and aim to have it performing in the most important games, it’s hard to square this off with resting Peter Siddle from the deciding 3rd Test vs South Africa, unless he was busting a move on a zimmer frame, which I doubt. The Test was decided all right … in the tourists favour.

As a spectator, it tells me that the management of the team have determined that series outside World Cups or The Ashes are second rate, and good for tinkering purposes only. It does shorten my wait for a beer at the ground, however 🙂 It’s also a smidge insulting to a visiting team such as Sri Lanka this summer. So just be clear about that, and lower ticket prices accordingly, and don’t complain about lukewarm crowds. The cricketing public want to see the best players, and will increasingly tune in to Channel 9 (who also question the policy, though it’s hard to be sympathetic on that score), or just tune out.

The policy has degenerated into a mish-mash of Australia and Australia A, all in the one team. Older cricket enthusiasts will remember how using Australia A as a third in a triangular series was less than uplifting, and so it is today. If it is so clear and transparent, why do we continue to have the uncertainty related to players such as Usman Khawaja, and why was there no mention prior to his exclusion last night that it was always going to be that way (as Mickey opined in the press)?

When are they going to appreciate that a team is more than the sum of its parts, and a team that coalesces around a consistent core generally performs better than various combinations of itinerants? Could this actually be the source of the poor running between wickets? There’s a thought … My trusty stethoscope betrays anxious heart palpitations and arythmia every time a short single is called by the stranger at the other end …

And how battle-hardened is the Test team going to be for a long 5-game Ashes tour? Or will they continue to rotate? Or is this when they abandon the policy? This is precisely the type of series that needs a minimum of change to the team list. At this point it seems that England’s biggest enemy is complacency, which hurts to say.

As for CA, this is the group of geniuses who kept a player of such awesome talent as Brad Hodge out of the national team during his prime, amongst other cricketing crimes, so no real surprise. There is no doubt in my mind he would have had a record matching our recently retired hero Mike Hussey.

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7 thoughts on “Rotation: CA and Mickey Arthur Say Sit on This and Rotate!

  1. Spot on Doctor! I am amused by the bowlers being rested. Compare them with labourers ( those who dig trenches or tile rooves for a living). If you applied CA’s guidelines the labourers would only be working two days week. It’s ridiculous. As for Brad Hodge???? As great a mystery as the Kennedy assassination.

    • Brad Hodge isn’t a great mystery to many close to the game. As talented and prolific as he is, he has burnt many bridges within the game – as have many other cricketers.

      • The way Greg Marmalard burned his bridges with Dean Wormer in Animal House? Or just chatter?

        Nice avatar by the way. The eyepatch is a much underutilized accessory!

  2. CA have dropped the ball big time – but not with their selection policies (never thought I’d ever write that!). The problem is that CA don’t communicate their strategies effectively. They continue to operate with whispers in hallways and assume that the public will just be happy that they get to watch people run around the field.

    The resting/rotating/musical chairs policy is a clear response to a rise in injuries to players over the previous 12 months. This time last year, “experts” were bleating about players always being injured. Pat Howard’s appointment as High Performance Manager was in-part made to address the unavailability of high performance players. The mistake CA have made is not properly communicating that they have adopted a new approach to try to remedy the injuries suffered, primarily, by bowlers. They have a 12 month strategy (how many punters are aware of this?) that they are trialling. The media can be blamed for not reporting this and running with opinion-disguised-as-journalism but ultimately it’s CA responsibility to get the message out.

    As a cricket-tragic I’d be happy to watch the Sunnybank under 8’s take on Sri Lanka Pre-Schools but I don’t think I’m in the majority!

    On a related note, I think that the research into player fitness might end up centring on the over restrictions placed on young bowlers. The current top tier cricketers are the first generation of players who have played their whole lives under the bowling restrictions. We’ve produced a generation of players who have risen to the top based on skill and performance whereas the generation before also had to have the physical toughness to survive through junior and club cricket. The “natural selection” based on the ability to bowl extended periods during and across matches has been removed.

    Pat Farhart (former NSW physio) has questioned the current bowling restrictions, which he was a party to, as potentially being part of the problem:

    http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/physio-thinks-again-on-bowling-limits-20121024-285vm.html

  3. I can’t disagree too much with any of that Jake. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. The C in CA definitely does not stand for, or even infer, ‘Communication’. And journalists leave me yearning for a bygone era where questions were asked, and investigation yielded considered articles. Now we seem to have corporate copy, much of which can be traced to media ownership (but I digress).

    Over restrictions are another in a litany of actions where the issue of unintended consequences arises, and will likely be a theme of this blog as we move forward.

    Anyhow, here’s to 2013, where I hope the Dr. And his patients, students and various riff raff can have a bit of fun.

  4. Great comments Jake and James.

    Has there ever been a comparison of the bowling workloads now vs past? What is the variation in the number of overs bowled by a fast bowler over the years. There you go, Dr your first chart! You’d have to normalise for the change between 8 and 6 bowls. But you should include all forms of cricket. If memory serves me correct I used to see the stars playing a lot more Sheffield Shield and club cricket then they do nowadays.

    In addition, you would think the sports medicine practises have advanced greatly from the days of a rub down with goanna oil before a game and a six pack down the gullet and another placed on the plantar fasciitis after would allow our current bowlers to be more biomechanically correct and less injury prone.

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