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?
There 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.