Ashes will be true test of rotation policy
Australian Test cricket captain Michael Clarke speaks with teammate Ricky Ponting watched by Test umpire Billy Bowden. AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD
As Australia concluded the home Test summer in a winning way, I could not help but sit bewildered hearing Lawry and Slater continually chastise the selections of the team.
Sure, I can deduce that superficially, the rotation policy, may appear comedic.
I mean, yes, Bill, the best XI players should play in every match.
However the enigmatic compilation of such a side continues to create a debate that will rage on until ultimately, the critics become silent or the selectors’ heads roll.
Yet as the sun set on Mike Hussey’s international career, Captain Clarke graced the post match presentation stage in the presence of Australia’s former captain, Mark Taylor.
Tubby himself questioned the policy of rotating fast bowlers in and out of the side, however he too stated that a side should be picked on it’s merits, accounting for both form and injury concerns.
So, I pose these questions to those who condemn the rotation policy.
Who was the player of the match in Sydney? How did they enter the Test side?
The answer? Jackson Bird. A previously unheralded shield bowler toiling on domestic wickets before gracing the international arena with a consistent line and length not witnessed since Glenn McGrath played his final test at the same ground in the season of 2006/07.
Bird was granted an opportunity to don the Baggy Green a week prior in the Boxing Day Test, a game in which he claimed four wickets removing key scalps along the way.
Bird was “Rotated” into the side in place of Mitchell Starc, who too put in a Herculean effort in Hobart eight days earlier.
Backing it up with another seven poles in Sydney, Bird has pushed his claims for a ticket to India and also London’s Ashes series, in which he looks a likely figure to contribute with the swinging Dukes ball.
So as Lawry and Slater criticised the decision to not select the best side in Test match fixtures, their praise of Bird was taken with a pinch of salt as hypocrisy reigned supreme once more.
Slater has always had a problem seeing the bigger picture, demonstrated clearly as he played rash shots in the 90s so often during his time as Australia’s opening batsman.
Instead of holding patience working his way to a triple figure score, once more Slater is unable to foresee the future benefits of ensuring the full fitness of Australia’s bowling stakes.
Once more, the policy ensures that when the inevitable occurs, and fast bowlers do break down, the likes of Bird and his fellow shield stars have top flight experience and do not crumble on the big stage.
And in so, I plead with the Australian public – for the sake of themselves, not that of my own – to observe the bigger picture. Judge the selection policy once Pup holds aloft the Ashes trophy.
For without such a method installed, I can guarantee you will not observe this sweet sight.