Clarke defends rotation after horror day

By Jim Morton,


86 Have your say

    Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga celebrates after clean bowling Australia's batsman Mitchell Johnson. (AFP PHOTO / Bradley)

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    Michael Clarke stood resolutely behind Australia’s unpopular rotation policy despite admitting selection changes contributed to their Gabba nightmare on Friday.

    Captain Clarke labelled it a “horrible day” as his men were routed for 74 before Sri Lanka (6-75) chased down the target in 20 overs for a four-wicket win and a 2-1 series lead.

    The day-night match was finished at 6pm local time as a disappointed crowd of 20,271 traipsed home in the daylight.

    It would have been over much earlier, well before the scheduled tea break, if not for a last-wicket stand of 34 by tailenders Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty – the only men to make double figures.

    Clarke, who had no hesitation in batting first, was among three first-choice players who returned from a two-game rest after a 3-0 Test series whitewash.

    Asked as he left the ground whether it was difficult for cricketers to maintain rhythm and confidence if they weren’t consistently selected, he said: “Yeah, I can’t doubt that.

    “Today is an example of that.

    “If you’re playing well and winning consistently, it builds momentum, that’s for sure. It’s still no excuse for the way we performed.”

    But Clarke then staunchly defended the rotation policy at his official press conference, instead blaming poor shot selection and defence for the third lowest total in Australia’s one-day history.

    “When you bat like that you’re not going to win many games of cricket,” he said.

    “My opinion hasn’t changed on, let’s call it once again, the rotation policy. Our performance today was very poor.

    “We let ourselves down, we let the people down who came to watch us.

    “I think our cricket throughout the summer has been pretty consistent – today is, for sure, our worst day.”

    The loss also exposed Australia’s frailty against quality swing bowling.

    Led by the mesmeric Nuwan Kulasekara, the Sri Lankan pace attack completely embarrassed the hosts – reducing them to 9-40 in the 19th over when captain Mahela Jayawardene had thought 220 would be a par score.

    In scenes reminiscent of the carnage in Cape Town 15 months ago when Australia’s Test team were bowled out for 47 by South Africa, man-of-the-match Kulasekara took 5-22 and Lasith Malinga 3-14 as Australia failed to counter the brilliant mixture of swing and seam.

    Sri Lanka’s batsmen also had their problems with the sideways movement, crashing to 4-37 as Mitchell Johnson dismantled their top order with 3-4 from his first eight deliveries.

    But Johnson was inexplicably taken off after the tea break while Australians were also left to rue missed catches by Clarke, George Bailey and David Warner.

    It was only the determined rearguard by Starc (22 not out) and Doherty (15) that saved Australia from more embarrassment.

    When Doherty leg-glanced his first ball to the boundary, Australia passed the lowest total by a recognised Test nation – 43 endured in South Africa by both Pakistan (1993) and Sri Lanka (2012).

    The spinner’s last boundary ensured they crept beyond 70 – which Australia made in 1977 in England and also in 1986 against New Zealand in Adelaide.

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    The Crowd Says (86)

    • January 19th 2013 @ 6:18am
      Johnno said | January 19th 2013 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      Still don’t get all the fuss with rotation in cricket. In the IPL they rotate, . In AFL,NRL rugby union, soccer, they all rotate, why the big huff and puff in cricket. All these other sports teams lose matches, and no one blames rotation anymore. If anything there is complaints about burnout often for losses, and not enough squad rotation. Same doesn’t seem to apply to Australian cricket landscape it seems.

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2013 @ 6:33am
        peeeko said | January 19th 2013 @ 6:33am | ! Report

        NRL and rugby they rotate?

        • January 19th 2013 @ 7:07am
          Matt said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:07am | ! Report

          Exactly. Only for injuries or after SOO. Except the storm often don’t even rest them after unless they’re playing a sucky team.

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2013 @ 9:49am
        The Bush said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Genia and Cooper play every minute of over game for the Reds. In fact I’ve heard of building depth by giving a few guys a chance every now and then, but no policy of rotation…

      • January 19th 2013 @ 10:54am
        kramer said | January 19th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        The only sport they rotate in is football.

        Please show me in the other sports where they rotate without injury.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 11:01am
          Jason said | January 19th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          Baseball. But mostly with pitchers (obviously) and catchers because they are the most physically demanding roles and they play pretty much EVERY day.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2013 @ 1:21pm
          TheGenuineTailender said | January 19th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

          Some AFL clubs rest players.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 3:42pm
        Ben said | January 19th 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

        AFL dont rotate players, Player like Dane Swan fully fit might play 20-21 games out of 22. Sure he might miss a match against GWS or GC but mostly the top players in top teams play 90-95% of matches. Sri-Lanka ODI Team is not GWS or GC.

        AFL team fields 22 players where as Cricket fields 11.players, Australian Cricket has played 18 different players in 3 matches 7×2=14. Are you suggesting that the Collingwood or the Sydney Swans Footy club would have fielded 36 different players with in 3 matches???? Ah No. Lets say they did. Do you think Collingwood or Sydney Swans would be sitting pretty on top of the ladder?? Once again the correct answer is No. Both teams would rightly placed 17th and 18th. So why would the Australian Cricket team be any different?

        The humiliation Australia Copped, Is just proof enough that the rotation system needs to srapped. They Even rotated the Coach. WTF!

        Momentum and winning is the key. How can a team have momentum if your chopping and changing every match.

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2013 @ 6:21am
      sheek said | January 19th 2013 @ 6:21am | ! Report

      Hi Jim,

      Yeah, those of us who despise the rotation policy would find it all to easy as the reason for Australia’s abysmal batting yesterday.

      There is a lot to be said for players maintaining a rhythm by playing consistently.

      I don’t disagree with players being rested on the ODD occasion, but this rotation policy has no common sense to it. It demands players be rested as a rite of passage & without sufficient due cause.

      Most annoyingly of all is the continual stream of pathetic excuses used to defend the policy. The people telling us this aren’t stupid, although they must think we’re stupid to buy into it.

      But in the end it is the defenders of the rotation policy who are looking increasingly stupid.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 7:24am
        Sailosi said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:24am | ! Report

        I’m not sure how defenders of the rotation policy are looking increasingly stupid. If this was the case then just a couple of days ago the defenders of the rotation policy would have come across as extremely intelligent after the result of the first match in the series. I don’t think there was a rotation policy in place when Australia recorded its two lowest ODI totals, they may just have been a result of poor batting and good bowling.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2013 @ 11:27am
          sheek said | January 19th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

          It’s possible I might be stupid, but I certainly wouldn’t think ex-players such as Ian Chappell & Dennis Lillee from the 70s, or Shane Warne & Brett Lee from the 2000s are stupid.

          And these four very different guys are all vehemently oppossed to the rotation policy.

          The total of 74 yesterday was certainly due to poor batting (not to mention good bowling). But sportsmen in any sport seek rhythm & continuity & part of that rhythm is found through playing regularly.

    • January 19th 2013 @ 6:44am
      lou said | January 19th 2013 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      Rotation, schmotation, is anyone going to say how good the bowling was by Sri Lanka? Kulasakera was moving it around beautifully and late. There was a few dud shots in there but some very fine bowling in useful bowling conditions.

      It doesn’t matter who is picked, hardly any of our guys can play the moving ball when it’s moving like that.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 7:10am
        Matt said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:10am | ! Report

        Doherty and Starc. The trick is to defend your stumps, pretend everything is going to hit them. You don’t want to slash outside and then have it change direction back in. You miss a few opportunities of wider balls, but so many mishits which were ok because they had the stumps covered, they didn’t open up the gate to get bowled.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 7:32am
        Allanthus said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:32am | ! Report

        Well said Lou. I think there has been an arrogance shown by many which has bordered on insulting the Sri Lankans.

        – the rotation policy itself. Is this an opportunity to try it out against a “lower level” nation?

        – comments by many posters who have low interest in this series, even to the point of saying that domestic 20/20 is more important – implying that this is because SL is a lower level nation without the name players to attract interest and to properly test our boys

        – reasons for yesterdays loss being all down to the rotation policy and what Australia did wrong, not the good play of the opposition

        What I saw yesterday was some outstanding bowling. Sri Lanka won the game because of this.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 7:42am
          Johnno said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:42am | ! Report

          Either way Allanthus one looks at yesterday, I maintain yesterday was an embarrassing day for both Australian and Sri Lankan cricket. The batting was awful on both sides, the fielding by the aussies was the worst I have ever seen them field ever in 25 years of watching cricket, 1988-2013.

          “Bring back Bob SImpson”. In the 80’s and mid 90’s half the time it was all the aussy commentators used to talk about the fielding standards of our aussy boys being so high and a benchmark. And teams like Pakistan when they came out were so embarrassingly bad, compare to ours. Imran Khan they amount of times he put on an angry face, and frustrated look at poor fielding and throws, was a sorry sight too see.

          But yesterday the aussies still could of won it, 5 chances went begging. And still Sri Lanka were 6/75 chasing 74, hardly inspiring stuff.

          Both batting was atrocious some quality bowling , but it was not that good to justify 75 runs in reality form each team being scored. In other words 16/150.

          Makes for awful embarrassing reading if you ask me.

          • January 19th 2013 @ 8:00am
            lou said | January 19th 2013 @ 8:00am | ! Report

            Johnno – Day one third test 2005 Ashes they dropped something like four catches. At least two deadset sitters in there. It’s why Vaughan got his ton. Against India 2008 SCG, they dropped a sickening number of catches and Gilly was missing stumpings for fun – even Andrew Symonds dropped a sitter, I never thought I’d see the day when both he and Mike Hussey dropped a catch in one innings – the whole series was littered with dropped catches by both sides

            I’ve seen much worse fielding than that by the Aussies at other times too. I remember a Pakistan tour when the Aussies – and this was a slips cordon with Taylor, Waugh and Warne in it – couldn’t catch a bloody cold.

            I know people are getting wound up this summer over selections and our batting woes, but can we stop with the ‘worst-ever’ stuff?

      • January 19th 2013 @ 9:17am
        jamesb said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        Hey Lou

        I agree full credit to Sri Lanka and Kulasakera. But Australia should never be 9/40. Never.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 9:50am
          kerapp said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

          This performance leads me to suspect that there could have been more than the swing ball at play here and Sri lanka too, did their utmost to justify Australia’s performance.

    • January 19th 2013 @ 7:13am
      GENO said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report


      What’s with the Australian selectors love affair with picking bit part players? Players who wouldn’t make it on their bowling alone neither their batting. Australia was at it’s strongest when it hardly had a recognised all rounder now everyone needs to be one ie Johnson.

      Anyway we need Pommers, S.Marsh and Finch all to be brought back in to be considered for selection at the expense off D.Hussey whose 35 and not likely to be at the next world cup and Bailey who isn’t good enough. Lets give two of these three a go and tell them the are replacing ponts and huss and give them the time necessary to consolidate those positions.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 9:30am
        James said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        I find it amazing the mythology that is created around some players.

        Bailey – averages 39.71 at a strike rate of 80
        Warner – averages 30.11 at a strike rate of 81.45

        And Bailey isn’t good enough but Warner is one of the top players in the Australian 1 day side.

        Actually, I’m surprised how close their strike rate is.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2013 @ 9:36am
          TheGenuineTailender said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

          Excellent point.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 5:28pm
          GENO said | January 19th 2013 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

          One question if you where picking a team and you had the choice of either Bailey or Warner who would it be?

          Bailey has surprised me but I fear it’s only downhill from here.

          • January 19th 2013 @ 6:54pm
            James said | January 19th 2013 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

            If we ignore the media and the commentators saying how great Warner is then you would see that in his last 10 1 day games he has averaged under 20 at a strike rate of 65.2. Any other player without the massive hype attached would have been dropped by now.

            • January 19th 2013 @ 9:05pm
              GENO said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

              One question if you where picking a team and you had the choice of either Bailey or Warner who would it be?

              I know his ODI record has not been that great of late, however his capable of putting together innings unlike any other aussie batsmen.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 12:07am
                James said | January 20th 2013 @ 12:07am | ! Report

                Well, he needs to show those innings very soon otherwise even with the cult of Warner in the media, he will be dropped from the side.

                Personally, I think he is extremely overrated. To date in 1 dayers his playing style has not come off enough for him to justify his place.

                At the moment, Bailey would be my fourth batsman pick behind Clarke, Mike Hussey and Watson. Warner would be lucky to make it into the side.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 11:47am
                Brendon said | January 20th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

                Your right, those centuries he scores at a run a ball are so over rated, get over it he’s a talent and that’s why he’s in the team, come the end of his career and judge, not one and a bit years into his international career

        • January 20th 2013 @ 5:10pm
          Brendon said | January 20th 2013 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

          Hmmm, Warner top scores and Bailey does what? You’re right James, totally overrated.

          I make that five fifty + scores in his last 7 innings but he has to go, he just doesn’t have the talent to compete in ODI’s, just tests and T20’s, where he seems to be pretty ok.

          That maiden ton last year in Hobart against a swinging ball on a green monster was also a terribly overrated innings as well.

          Drop him now, please, before he top scores again!

          • January 20th 2013 @ 6:42pm
            GENO said | January 20th 2013 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

            “If we ignore the media and the commentators”?

            Seeing is believing, Warner can win you a World Cup Bailey can’t end of story CHEERS!

      • January 19th 2013 @ 9:53am
        Matt F said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        Pomersbach? The man averages 20 in his one day domestic career but sure, lets ignore that and pick him on the back of a few good T20 knocks…..

        • January 19th 2013 @ 5:26pm
          GENO said | January 19th 2013 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          I think it’s important to pick players who are in form and with the T20 competition the only one going domestically choice is limited.

          • January 20th 2013 @ 9:31am
            Matt h said | January 20th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            We go in about rotation cheapening the Australian side, etc and then every other post is always demanding the selection of the latest player to have a run of three good games. Pomersbach hasn’t even been a regular in the QLD ODI team and has done little in that format in the past few years. Bashing a few in the BBLkver three weeks does not get you an Australian jumper.

            • January 20th 2013 @ 6:36pm
              GENO said | January 20th 2013 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

              Warner never played first class cricket before his aussie call up why should pommers be any different!

              Anyone who knows anything about the game can watch pommers bat and instantly see he has that special something to be a top international performer!

              Perhaps you just don’t have a great understanding of the game?

      • January 19th 2013 @ 11:34am
        Bearfax said | January 19th 2013 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        There’s a good reason for not selecting batsmen based on specific T20, ODI or tests performances for another form of the game. The games are totally different and the fielding restrictions in one form may give a player an advantage which he cant cant get in another.

        Take the example of Shaun Marsh. We’ve all been impressed with his T20 form of late and he is averaging 43 in that form of the game (though his international T20 average is only 13.5 but after only 8 matches). But Marsh is a flashy player, somewhat like Warner. And the field restrictions of T20 suit his over the top batting strokes, because for the first 6 overs there are only two players allowed outside the circle. By the end of six overs he’s got his eye in and the fielding is still restricted allowing his flamboyant style. he also only has to face a bowler who has his measure four overs in a full innings.

        In List A and ODI, fielding restrictions are tighter and you have to face dangerous bowlers more often. His flamboyant style becomes limited and not surprisingly his List A averages are only 34 and 36 at ODI lievel, which is less than most of the players presently being selected.

        In test cricket he has to face much more on a tighter field and facing a barrage of top line bowlers. His first class average is on 36 and test average is 27.

        This was why Micky’s selection of Marsh based on shorter forms of the game primarily for tests was sheer folly. He’s done the same with other batsmen with sub 40 first class averages but good limited over averages. Finch for example can get an average of about 40 for limited over batting but less than 30 at first class cricket. Most batsmen are not suited to all forms of the game. Its obviously a bad practise to select on this basis,yet these selectors seem to continue to use Limited Over cricket as a testing for test cricket.

        There are few batsmen around who can manage all forms successfully. Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, David Hussey, Warner are amongst the few who seem able to manage it.

        But Micky and the selectors continue to apply selection in that manner and continue to get mud on their face. That’s why this group of selectors needs to be dropped.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 8:22pm
          Sanjay said | January 19th 2013 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

          Agreed Bearfax, there are only a few batsman around who can manage all forms and Clarke, Khawaja, Hughes and Warner are among them, there are also very few who can handle swing bowling and Khawaja and Clarke are the best we have in that department

        • January 19th 2013 @ 8:45pm
          Sanjay said | January 19th 2013 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

          And futher more the point on not selecting test players based on T20 performance is a very good one, we made this mistake with Marsh 2 years ago against India and paid the price, lets hope we don’t do it again.

    • January 19th 2013 @ 7:42am
      Talisman said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      What’s needed most is a batting coach to teach batsmen how to defend the swinging ball. Is that exhibition an example of what T20 cricket has done to technique? Or is it a wider issue, ie, aren’t coaches anywhere teaching batsmen the basics of good batting including a solid defence? We’ll get slaughtered in England if that’s an indication of the team’s collective capability against swing bowling. It also highlights the lack of common sense by selectors against 2 common sporting mantras:
      Don’t flirt with your form & don’t underestimate your opponent.
      Australia got what it deserved – again.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 9:12am
        GENO said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Jimmy Anderson must be licking his lips!

      • January 19th 2013 @ 9:18am
        buddha9 said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        totally agree about the weakness against swing bowling — they had it in 2005 and lost the ashes and it was a ten times better batting side than this — warner and hughes the pommy bowlers are licking their lips in theri sleep about these two blokes — what i’ve seen this year only cowen among the newcomers has the tightness of technique and the self control to defy them — which is why I can’t grasp their neglect of Usman K who has a great technique — can he be that much worse in the field than some in Brisbane?

        • January 19th 2013 @ 8:24pm
          Sanjay said | January 19th 2013 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

          buddha9 you are everyone else is also wondering why Khawaja can’t get a hit when he has one of the purest techniques around and is one of the few players who can play in moving conditions, he moved to Qld this year so he can improve his batting in tough shield conditions at the Gabba, he should be rewarded.

    • January 19th 2013 @ 7:50am
      Sailosi said | January 19th 2013 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Australia’s technique against the swinging ball has been poor for a number of years and to be fair most of the batsman around the world struggle against quality swing bowling. That’s probably why quality swing bowlers have been very effective. Australia don’t seem to find a way once the ball starts to swing to halt a collapse.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • January 19th 2013 @ 8:02am
        Johnno said | January 19th 2013 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        Terry Alderman reaked havoc on so called world class batsmen in England with good swing bowling eg Grahame Gooch, David Gower, Alan Lamb, Robin Smith, Chris Broad, so any batsmen of any era will struggle against top class fast bowling of swing bowling.

        Now it’s a little easier, as technology is better eg Bats, padding, and friendlier pitches most of the time, video analysis. But still in the 90’s and the new millennium batters struggle against top class bowling eg fast, swing bowling, spin bowling. Shoaib Aktar reverse swining at 150 km/phr , or shaun Tait will cause problem in any era and will in 20 year time to, the fast bowlers then. When the ball reaches around the 148 mark, the human eye struggles to see it as easy, and reflexes are slowed down. So on our chat a few days ago against great fast bowlers, any fast bowler on a roll bowling 150 clicks, without he pitch with a bit of pace on it, will cause trouble, and a lovely Fremanle doctor, Curtley Ambrose will still be a chance to bowl a spell of 7 for 1.

        The ball that got Clarke out and the ball Malinga bowled would get any batsmen out in world cricket out in any era.

        And guys Viv Richards did get out to quality fast bowling the 2nd half of his career he barley averaged 40.
        Heck DK Lilliee got Viv Richards “out on the last ball of the day can you believe that” the roar from the commentary box .

        And some of Shaun Tait’s wild thing thunderbolts, Devon Malcom, Shoaib Akther, Darren Gough’s, and some of Patrick Patterson’s feisty deliveries, all these men could get Viv out with a good ball. Patterson did a few times in west indies domestic cricket.

      • January 19th 2013 @ 8:23am
        Rob from Brumby Country said | January 19th 2013 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        The trouble with talking about technique against swing bowling is that technique can only carry you so far – you still have to try to judge the trajectory of the delivery. The best advice I ever received about playing against swing bowling was to commit to a shot late but wholeheartedly. That gives you the best possible chance to judge the path of the ball, although it does compromise the strength of your strokeplay.

        It’s a technique that really only works if your footwork is good, and it seems to comes naturally to the gritty accumulators of the game. The power hitters of the game like David Warner and yes, even Phil Hughes play too early and too far through the shot to have an effective defence against quality swing bowling. You can’t get away with being brash when the ball is hooping around like that.

        • January 19th 2013 @ 9:21am
          buddha9 said | January 19th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

          soft hands man not ‘whole heartedly’ – soft hands especially in england — play late, have a good technique and use soft hands — listen to TMs sometime BBc website and hear boycott going on about it and he’s right even if he never shuts up saying it.

          Agree with the last part of your comment though – the problem in 2005 and ever since is that the aussies had got used to playing shitty attacks where they just plonked their foot down the track and hit through the ball — compare hayden’s batting in the first 4 tests with the ton he got in the final test — he learnt finally — this was why Langer had such a good tour when others failed — asutralia hasn’t changed or learnt anything since —- the ball moves late, they’re in trouble even on aussie wickets.

          • January 19th 2013 @ 4:03pm
            Rob from Brumby Country said | January 19th 2013 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

            I think the word I was looking for was ‘decisively’. You’ve got a point about having soft hands, though, that’s important.