Player management policy must change

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By Brian Zhang , Brian Zhang is a Roar Rookie

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    It has to change – the rotation, player management policy, whatever you want to call it.

    David Warner, Matthew Wade and Michael Clarke were all rested for the first two one day internationals of the present series, and all returned for the third ODI at the ‘Gabba yesterday.

    And the rest paid no immediate dividends, as not only were Australia bowled out for a humiliating 74 but all three rested players failed.

    Warner was out for four, Clarke for nine and Wade out for eight – all three failing to reach double figures.

    All three players were in terrific form after the Test series and to be rested from the first two ODIs must’ve been frustrating, for Warner and Wade especially who did not have any lingering injuries and it must’ve done no good for their recent good form with the bat.

    Michael Clarke was also rested to give his hamstring more healing time but he played through the injury during the Sri Lankan Test series and showed no drop in form.

    It was clearly evident the team in Adelaide was nowhere near Australia’s best XI, despite John Inverarity stating it was, and even the team who comprehensively beat Sri Lanka in the first game of the series wasn’t the best XI.

    Although the axing of Mike Hussey due to retirement was extremely controversial, it was understandable. But any Australian team right now without either Clarke or Warner is not the best Australian team.

    Australia don’t need to find a replacement for Mike Hussey until the 2015 One Day World Cup, as David Hussey is and has been playing a similar role to his elder brother for three or four years.

    He can come in when Australia are 3/50 or 3/150 and play the long innings where he works the ball around, or the finishing innings where he finds gaps and hits regular boundaries.

    I get what Cricket Australia and the medical staff are trying to do in not wanting to risk a player getting seriously injured, like a Ryan Harris. But the 12-18 months the rotation policy has existed it hasn’t worked and if it is going to stay it, changes need to be made.

    The first thing to do is to change the resting or rotating of players in and out of the side when they think an injury may occur if the player plays in the next match. Mitchell Starc is a fantastic example of this.

    After taking 5/63 to bowl Australia to victory in Hobart, he was rested for the next Test match, which denied him from playing his first Boxing Day Test match. It must’ve been demoralising for the young left-arm quickie and wouldn’t have done his confidence any good.

    Selectors stated Starc had to be rested because they feared the ankle injury that kept him out of the 2010/11 season would flare up and become a problem again if he played.

    This has to be changed. Unless a player cannot run between wickets or charge in and bowl without any genuine major discomfort, they should be picked to play, especially if they’re in good form prior to the Test.

    Michael Clarke is another perfect example of this. In contrast to Starc, the hamstring/back injury he picked up in the second innings of the Hobart Test was more evident and serious – it’s an injury that has caused him many problems since he was a teenager. Yet he still played and went on to score a hundred, his first at the MCG.

    Sure if Starc played Jackson Bird may not even be in the side but with the Ashes coming up and being only 22 as Starc is, he would want to get as much bowling and Test match experience as possible leading up to bigger series.

    So overall if a batsman or bowler is in good form after one Test match, unless they show any major discomfort in running between wickets or running into bowl, they must play in the next Test.

    The second and final thing that Cricket Australia could trial for a few months is having a specific set of bowlers playing in Tests, ODIs and T20s, especially with players who are injury prone.

    Peter Siddle has not played an ODI or T20 since 2010 and hasn’t broken down with a seriously threatening injury since. Because he doesn’t play in the shorter forms, he is given more time off to rest and play in the Sheffield Shield for Victoria and then has the off season to continue staying fit and training.

    Ryan Harris could do something like to this to prolong his career. When Harris plays, he is part of both the ODI and Test teams. If he retires from the shorter form of the game, it could extend Harris’ chances of playing an extra year or two and possibly the two back-to-back Ashes series.

    Shane Watson could do something like this as well. He could either retire from ODI, T20 or both to prolong his Test career.

    It’s something Cricket Australia and the players could opt for this year, as the player management or rotation policy has been a huge failure this season.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • January 19th 2013 @ 6:48am
      lou said | January 19th 2013 @ 6:48am | ! Report

      David Hussey is nowhere near as good as his brother at international level and it isn’t helpful to pretend that he is.

      Do you really think that resting our so-called top players was the reason why they were all out so cheaply on return? If so, no-one would ever get a score in the first match of a tour. Seriously, people are just making stuff up now to bolster up their prejudices.

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2013 @ 9:11am
        TheGenuineTailender said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        Are you aware David Hussey averages 55 in first-class cricket? That would be in the top 100 first-class batting averages of all time. To say he isn’t in the same league as Michael is ignorant.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 9:34am
          Matt F said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          He did say “at international level.” David hasn’t played a test so you can’t compare them there but Mike is far superior in both ODI’s and T20I’s

        • January 20th 2013 @ 1:11am
          lolly said | January 20th 2013 @ 1:11am | ! Report

          Yes, I am aware of his first class record, but who was talking about that? I was talking about his international short format record. Did you read my comment?

      • January 19th 2013 @ 12:19pm
        brian said | January 19th 2013 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

        People understand estimate David hussey way too much. He is a bit like brad hodge, one of the best and highest scoring run makers in Australian first class cricketers to have been produced. But unlike brad hodge, hussey still has a chance to make a test debut at 35 and has been a regular of the odi side since 2008. Despite probably being more of a limited overs specialist, his first class record puts him amongst the best and half those matches have been played in England county cricket

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2013 @ 9:22am
      TheGenuineTailender said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      “Informed player management” does need to change. That doesn’t mean they need to get rid of it all together. Resting players is the way of the future. It’s been disappointing however to see which players have been brought in as replacements. We got the ‘A’ side yesterday, but Moises Henriques is so far from being the best all-rounder in Australia it’s not even funny.

      Bowlers of the future will need to be given breaks and the selectors will need to pick very carefully which games they miss. They also then need to be picking the next best guy. That means replacing Peter Siddle with John Hastings isn’t going to win you games of test cricket. Especially not in the deciding match of a series to determine the world number one. We need to prioritise games rather than have a blanket rule that specifies you bowl X overs and are rested.

      I’m not giving up on rotation as a way to keep our best players fit and firing, but they need to be playing in the big games. If we take European football sides as an example, rotating players there is a key factor in ensuring you win titles. But that doesn’t mean you play your best players for four games, but then come the final of a major tournament, you have to rest them and bring in some 16 year old kid.

      This ODI series will be completely forgotten in a month. The Ashes is the real challenge ahead and the tour to India ought to be taken very seriously too. We’re far from favourites to win either series. Giving a couple of guys a little break now to freshen themselves up may end up being a master stroke in the long term. But the most important factor is that we NEED our best players playing these big games. There is no way we can be resting our big players in the deciding Ashes test, but they deserve a little rest here and there.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 12:21pm
        MrKistic said | January 19th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        Many people are now pointing out that these ODI matches are not particularly meaningful and we’ll have forgotten both the results and the players within months so let’s focus on the real cricket coming up.

        So the question then has to be, why are we bothering to schedule matches that mean nothing??

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2013 @ 12:34pm
          TheGenuineTailender said | January 19th 2013 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          They make money for broadcasters. Lots and lots of money.

          • January 19th 2013 @ 1:01pm
            MrKistic said | January 19th 2013 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

            The same broadcaster that then complains that the A team isn’t playing. Sheesh.

            This of course gets to the heart of the matter. The scheduling of the SAf series also meant that we rested our players in the deciding test because they were so close together (and/or we couldn’t get Faf out). We could get away with back to back tests when we won them inside 3 days but we’re not that team any more (SL series aside). It also seems that the resting occurs because of the amount of cricket being played, in the case of Warner and Wade for example.

            So at which point do we realise that the scheduling and the resting mean that we’re essentially broadcasting Australia A matches? We may as well put marketing dollars back into the state level and broadcast that instead.

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