Rotation policy showcasing Australia’s enviable depth
Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga celebrates after clean bowling Australia's batsman Mitchell Johnson. AFP PHOTO / Bradley
It didn’t take too long to prove knockers of the rotation policy wrong, albeit on the bounciest, seamingest, swingingest wicket in WACA history.
There was no Peter Siddle, no James Pattinson, no Pat Cummins, no Joel Hazelwood, no Dave Warner, no Mike Hussey, no Ricky Ponting, no David Hussey, no Shane Watson, no Ed Cowan, no Rob Quiney, no George Bailey, Michael Clarke opted to rest his cracked rib (?).
I could go on.
The point of rotation is to rest injured or stale players or those who have a work overload. Australia’s selectors have done it cleverly, although I hasten to add you wouldn’t have to be Einstein to pick someone, anyone, to play for Australia at the WACA on Friday.
Australia used a line-up which included three left arm quicks over 190cm tall who bowl over 140 and can swing it sometimes, a 190cm right arm quick who moves it all the time and several part time spinners (including Glenn Maxwell) who didn’t get a look in.
They could have had anyone who has been on the cusp of Australian selection at one day or Test level and they would have spread-eagled the Windies to be fair.
By keeping the ball full and letting the breeze and the pitch do its work, Australia forced the Windies to fall in a heap for 70. And to be fair, South Africa, England and India would have struggled today. The WACA was lethal. I know, I live here.
People such as Ben Laughlin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Jason Behrendorf, Mike Hogan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Joel Paris, Josh Hazelwood, Gary Putland, Jackson Bird, Ben Cutting, Dirk Nannes and many others would have given their left gonad to bowl for Australia and the result would have been similar.
The Australian selectors are far from dummies. They know that spin kids like Mike Beer, Ashton Agar, James Muirhead, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Aaron O’Brien, Steve O’Keefe, Xavier Doherty and others will vie for spots in Australia’s teams of the future… But not on Friday at the WACA.
And they know that guys like Luke Pomersbach, Shaun and Mitch Marsh, Tim Ludemann, Alex Doolan, Travis Birt, Tim Paine, Brad Haddin and others are bursting to fit into Test and one day teams.
All they have to do is sit back and watch these 30 kids vie with one another for spots. Can’t be too hard being a Selector, can it?
I mean you could pick three Aussie teams to beat the Windies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Pakistan in Australia.
You might struggle to get two teams which could beat India, England and South Africa. But you certainly could get two teams of current Australian cricketers who would be very competitive with those three.
The Nine commentators, the Shane Warne fans and the players from the 20 year era of success which ended around 2006 all think Australia is going to get decimated against these three teams, but honestly they are so wrong it isn’t funny.
Where we used to speak of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Steve Waugh, Justin Langer, Glen McGrath and Jason Gillespie, soon we will talking about Matt Wade, Dave Warner, Michael Clarke, perhaps Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Mitch Johnson, and many, many others in the same vein.
Why? For three reasons.
Firstly, competition for places in the three Australian teams is at an all-time premium!
Secondly, there are no walk-up starts for the stars of Australia. They have to succeed big time to get a gig.
Thirdly, because the Australian selectors are offering both carrots and Tests to about 30 kids around this country, and they know there is another 20 behind them who will bust a gut to take their spot.
Australian cricket has never, ever been so healthy.