The Roar
The Roar


Is Hilfenhaus the victim of the rotation system?

Ben Hilfenhaus has called time on his first-class career. (AFP Photo/William West).
16th December, 2012

Did Australian paceman Ben Hilfenhaus break down yesterday at Bellerive because he didn’t play in the third Test against South Africa at the WACA?

Both Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle were “rested” from the WACA after such tortuous performances at Adelaide three days before.

Siddle obviously benefitted, there was a spring in his step yesterday against Sri Lanka, on his way to a sixth career five-wicket haul, for just 54 runs.

Not so for the more heavily-built Hilfenhaus who needs regular centre wicket work to keep up to speed.

The question is if the rotation of pace bowlers working: the obvious answer is no, so what is the answer?

Team physio Alex Kountouris is among the best in the business, but even he is fishing.

“(The rotation system) is not perfect, but we are working really hard to come up with a solution”.

Hilfenhaus won’t bowl again in this Test, and could well be out for the rest of the season as he joins Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Ryan Harris, and John Hastings on the sideline.

Only Mitchell Johnson has returned from a long-term toe injury.


Throw in skipper Michael Clarke and opening batsman David Warner with dicky backs thst restricts them at the bowling crease, and vice-captain Shane Watson with on-going leg problems, and the baggy greens are fast becoming a team of crocks.

Clarke will be one pace bowler shy for the rest of this Test, with the added worry his big left-armer Mitchell Starc is spraying his deliveries all over the shop.

His only success yesterday was bowling Sri Lankan top-scorer Tillerkaratne Dilshan with a superb yorker, but it cost 94 runs of rubbish to get there.

Starc must step up to the plate when the Australians take the field again because he has Jackson Bird and Doug Bollinger breathing down his neck.

The same applies to opening batsmen Ed Cowan with Usman Khawaja and Alex Doolan knocking on his door. Not as openers, where Phil Hughes would step into that role, but top order batsmen.

There’s a lot to like about the Australian Test team at the moment with the exception of the attack, that is having trouble dismissing opposition teams cheaply. And twice.

The next three days will decide the immediate future of Starc and Cowan. In the best interests of the team and themselves for continuity, it’s imperative they both fire.

It’s entirely up to them.