The farcical situation whereby Mitchell Starc was pulled from the Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and NSW after bowling only 15 overs to put him in cotton wool for the upcoming Test against South Africa was a blight on the game of cricket.
Apart from being an insult to the spectators who had attended in the expectation of seeing a genuine contest, it’s just not in the Spirit of Cricket for a team to pull one of their best players out of the game so that he can rest up and to prevent any possible further injury.
It totally devalues from the Sheffield Shield Competition as a spectacle and it could be argued that it turns it in to a virtual practice match.
Welcome to the age of High Performance Coaches and Sports Scientists. If anything all that they’re doing is over-analysing across the board and depriving some players of the opportunity to compete at maximum intensity.
I wonder how players such as Allan Border, David Boon and Jeff Thomson – who represented their states with pride and passion, who left nothing in the tank and who were never prevented from playing in a Sheffield Shield game in the lead up to a Test Match – must feel when they see players being rested and treated with kid gloves?
The ironic thing here is that Mitchell Starc may quite conceivably end up being underdone for the first Test Match and come day four or five he may lack stamina and run out of steam. This would leave the Australian bowling attack short due to Starc’s lack of fitness and conditioning.
In the meantime in their pursuit and endeavour to improve and manage player performance may inadvertently do more harm than good. You only have to look at the careers of bowlers such as Pat Cummins and James Pattinson to name a few.