Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne December 23, 2012

Clarke 50-50, Starc to sit out

54

Australia's chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, has declared Michael Clarke only had a 50-50 chance of playing the Boxing Day Test and said Mitchell Starc was almost certain to be rested due to his heavy workload. On Sunday, Clarke jogged at half pace on the MCG under the watchful eye of the team physio Alex Kountouris, as he continued his recovery from the hamstring injury that forced him to retire hurt while batting during Australia's win over Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Clarke did not bat at training on Sunday and had his troublesome muscle strapped with an ice-pack while his team-mates worked in the nets in Melbourne's extreme heat. He took part in long discussions with Inverarity and the coach Mickey Arthur, and while Clarke remains in contention to lead the side on Boxing Day, Inverarity said a conservative approach would be taken regarding Clarke's fitness.

"He's travelling optimistically and well. But he's 50-50 as to whether he'll be fit enough to play on Boxing Day," Inverarity said. "He's a very precious asset and I would go low risk. He's always upbeat, he desperately wants to play. But we certainly don't want to push him especially hard in a Test for him to break down."

Shane Watson will captain Australia if Clarke is ruled out, and he would become the 44th man to lead Australia in a Test. It is an elite group that does not include some of Australia's greats - Victor Trumper and Shane Warne, to name just two men who did not captain Australia in Tests - and Watson said he had learnt plenty about leadership while filling in for Clarke during eight one-day internationals earlier this year.

"It's about as big as it gets for an Australian cricketer," Watson said. "There's no doubt if that opportunity arises it certainly would be … an amazing opportunity to think something like that has come along in your life. But I'm trying not to get too far in front of myself at the moment.

"The thing that really stood out to me [in the ODIs] was to trust my gut instinct. Until you captain a side you don't really realise the intuition you've developed over 10 or 11 years of first-class cricket and also being around some of the best players who have ever played for Australia. Intuition really does come to the fore and you're able to do things tactically that you didn't think you had in you."

If Watson leads the side, he will almost certainly be without the left-armer Starc, who is not injured and bowled in the nets on Sunday, but is expected to be rested. At 22, Starc is one of the younger members of Australia's fast-bowling group and after the breakdowns of James Pattinson and Pat Cummins, the selectors are wary of asking too much of Starc, despite the fact that he has taken 14 wickets in the past two Tests.

"He'll either play Melbourne or Sydney, but it would make some sense that he misses this one and plays Sydney rather than goes Hobart and then Melbourne," Inverarity said. "It's about bowling loads. The science behind it is that they've got to build up their bowling loads so the oscillations are not very significant. If they do become reasonably significant, as they have done for Mitchell, then you enter a danger period, a high-risk period."

Should Starc sit out, that would mean a Test debut for the Tasmania fast bowler Jackson Bird, who would join Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon in the attack. The backup batsman in the squad, Usman Khawaja, batted in the nets on Sunday and even sent down a few offspinners, preparing for what will be his first Test in more than a year, if Clarke is ruled out.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Solace1 on December 24, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    @Shaggy076: Calm down brother, i am sure he won't say such things after lanka beats australia in 3 days in the second test

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 24, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Well shaggy you have a word with RandyOz & Jonesy2 cos they are giving australian fans a bad name. Then maybe he'll stop doing it. Seems like you can dish it out (when you were number 1) but you cant take it.

  • Qeng_Ho on December 24, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge, if you want to troll properly, you need to be more subtle. At the moment, you are barely plausible. Pick up your game and put some thought into it for goodness sake.

  • on December 24, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    I believe "Inverarity" is an old gaelic word meaning "too clever by half". If this keeps up we should seriously consider using the label "the Australians" or perahps "random Australian selection" rather than "Australia" for our team. The old MCC sides coming to Australia only called themselves "England" in the tests because that was when they picked their best side. Otherwise it was "MCC". In an excess of smarty-pants sports science, overengineering and psychology we now can't even match that. Pick the best team available, let them play their hearts out and look after them and if necessary replace them, after they are injured, if indeed that happens. It's a sport and sport involves injuries.

  • leggetinoz on December 24, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    If you agrewe with the rotation policy towards the quicks or not, it is obvious it will stay in place and you have to admit their does seem to be enough science and experience behind it to think that they might be on to a good thing. The fact that they were told by the sports scientists that Pattinson would break down in the india test at the SCG and he did exactly that means that they will pay attention to it. I would prefer this then for Australia to keep having bowlers break down mid match. It also allows us to get a good crop of fast bowlers who are capable ofplaying at the test level. That can only be a good thing as well. Looking forward to seeing Bird bowl as everyone has nothing but good things to say about him and his stats are quite good as well.

  • warnerbasher on December 24, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    I'm with FFL on this on. The BBL is a minnow 20/20 comp and long may it remain so. Alfonso thomas, Marlon Samuels, Perera who?. Mind you there is strong similarities between Sydney Thunder team and the English team. Thats right, they are both full of foreigners.

  • mixters on December 24, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    Minnow, flat track bully, doctering the pitch, amature cricketers, street team, all these and more are the terms we here from the Indian fans who now have a team that was just humiliated at home by England, the same team that wipped them 4-0 in england. Wait till the subcontinent they said you will see then they said. So out come the derogitory terms if other people resond in kind its racisim. I can only hope for the sake of posting sanity that India manage to get it together against Minnow Aust or (3rd ranked test team) depending on were you live so we wont be subjected to more of this TROLLING from the dissapointed fans in India, when they lose its all we here.

  • OzzieSpinner on December 24, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    Front foot lunge, you seem to have forgotten the recent series against South Africa. Was that amateurish cricket? Do you forget the whitewash against India in Australia? India is not at the pinnacle of test cricket, as their deserved slide down the test rankings show. England is far from being a minnow, and their deserved victory against India--on Indian wickets--prove this. If India keep sliding, will you call them "minnows"?

  • VivGilchrist on December 24, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Hasn't Starc just had a weeks rest? If Watto captains this could be the makings of him as a very good Test cricketer.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 24, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    @Shaggy076, Oh what a short memory you have there. England famously whitewashed a previously dominant Indian team to take the world number 1 position and deservedly so. England set them up on a plate for you. You didn't have to play the team of supposed batting superstars in Tendulkar and co, but hollow empty shells of cricketers who had been found out tim and again by Anderson and co. So everyone in England I can assure you just laughed when they saw the Aussies celebrating.

    Now compare that to the other India, the 'Home Lions' India. The India whose previous record at home was legendary. No matter how bad an away series went for India, they were always giants at home - remember that? That's what England have broken. Australia fighting hard against minnows like Sri Lanka just highlights in stark contrast how much scraping the barrel Australian cricket has been doing for the last five years of English dominance over them.

  • Solace1 on December 24, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    @Shaggy076: Calm down brother, i am sure he won't say such things after lanka beats australia in 3 days in the second test

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 24, 2012, 2:46 GMT

    Well shaggy you have a word with RandyOz & Jonesy2 cos they are giving australian fans a bad name. Then maybe he'll stop doing it. Seems like you can dish it out (when you were number 1) but you cant take it.

  • Qeng_Ho on December 24, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    @Front Foot Lunge, if you want to troll properly, you need to be more subtle. At the moment, you are barely plausible. Pick up your game and put some thought into it for goodness sake.

  • on December 24, 2012, 2:27 GMT

    I believe "Inverarity" is an old gaelic word meaning "too clever by half". If this keeps up we should seriously consider using the label "the Australians" or perahps "random Australian selection" rather than "Australia" for our team. The old MCC sides coming to Australia only called themselves "England" in the tests because that was when they picked their best side. Otherwise it was "MCC". In an excess of smarty-pants sports science, overengineering and psychology we now can't even match that. Pick the best team available, let them play their hearts out and look after them and if necessary replace them, after they are injured, if indeed that happens. It's a sport and sport involves injuries.

  • leggetinoz on December 24, 2012, 2:12 GMT

    If you agrewe with the rotation policy towards the quicks or not, it is obvious it will stay in place and you have to admit their does seem to be enough science and experience behind it to think that they might be on to a good thing. The fact that they were told by the sports scientists that Pattinson would break down in the india test at the SCG and he did exactly that means that they will pay attention to it. I would prefer this then for Australia to keep having bowlers break down mid match. It also allows us to get a good crop of fast bowlers who are capable ofplaying at the test level. That can only be a good thing as well. Looking forward to seeing Bird bowl as everyone has nothing but good things to say about him and his stats are quite good as well.

  • warnerbasher on December 24, 2012, 2:11 GMT

    I'm with FFL on this on. The BBL is a minnow 20/20 comp and long may it remain so. Alfonso thomas, Marlon Samuels, Perera who?. Mind you there is strong similarities between Sydney Thunder team and the English team. Thats right, they are both full of foreigners.

  • mixters on December 24, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    Minnow, flat track bully, doctering the pitch, amature cricketers, street team, all these and more are the terms we here from the Indian fans who now have a team that was just humiliated at home by England, the same team that wipped them 4-0 in england. Wait till the subcontinent they said you will see then they said. So out come the derogitory terms if other people resond in kind its racisim. I can only hope for the sake of posting sanity that India manage to get it together against Minnow Aust or (3rd ranked test team) depending on were you live so we wont be subjected to more of this TROLLING from the dissapointed fans in India, when they lose its all we here.

  • OzzieSpinner on December 24, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    Front foot lunge, you seem to have forgotten the recent series against South Africa. Was that amateurish cricket? Do you forget the whitewash against India in Australia? India is not at the pinnacle of test cricket, as their deserved slide down the test rankings show. England is far from being a minnow, and their deserved victory against India--on Indian wickets--prove this. If India keep sliding, will you call them "minnows"?

  • VivGilchrist on December 24, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Hasn't Starc just had a weeks rest? If Watto captains this could be the makings of him as a very good Test cricketer.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 24, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    @Shaggy076, Oh what a short memory you have there. England famously whitewashed a previously dominant Indian team to take the world number 1 position and deservedly so. England set them up on a plate for you. You didn't have to play the team of supposed batting superstars in Tendulkar and co, but hollow empty shells of cricketers who had been found out tim and again by Anderson and co. So everyone in England I can assure you just laughed when they saw the Aussies celebrating.

    Now compare that to the other India, the 'Home Lions' India. The India whose previous record at home was legendary. No matter how bad an away series went for India, they were always giants at home - remember that? That's what England have broken. Australia fighting hard against minnows like Sri Lanka just highlights in stark contrast how much scraping the barrel Australian cricket has been doing for the last five years of English dominance over them.

  • PYC1959 on December 24, 2012, 0:39 GMT

    Cricket Australia thank you for once again making us the laughing stock of world cricket. Rotation has never worked and never will, why take a guy in form away from the next teast match. If you are doing this to the bowlers then do it to the batsmen too and see what happens then. Leaving Johnson out after his performance in Perth was just plain stupid. Why not have 2 left arm bowlers in the team, we have 2 right arm bowlers, is there something not right about left armers (pardon the pun). Get real with selections and stop trying to be too clever, this will back fire soon because come the ashes the bowlers will not have had the match/game time needed.

  • Simoc on December 24, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    Seems a good idea to me. Starc has improved heaps over the past twelve months so play him in Sydney and Johnson in Melbourne. Johnson is one that can handle the work load. It'll be good to check out the new boy Bird. Clarke batting below Wade and spending the game at first slip would still be greater value to the team.

  • Paul_Rampley on December 23, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    @WarrenSmith and @Hyclass are spot on, Khawaja is a great addition to the team. As much as i want Clarkey to play i hope he doesn't risk his fitness for the remainder of the summer for 1 game only. If he is not 100% then he should not risk injury, it will be a good opportunity to see how the batsman do without our leading batsman. Khawaja should use the opportunity to pick Arthur, Hussey and Clarke's training and work ethics during this week's training as they are the best role models around.

  • duralsumo on December 23, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    It stems from the decision to introduce bowling restrictions on bowlers at junior level in Australia in particular. I have questioned for many years how are bowlers supposed to get the strength and stamina for senior cricket. Maybe I was selfish as some of my best bowlers were only allowed to bowl five overs for as they had bowled in the morning. However my thoughts were that of a pariah. Warnerbasher and Noel Nei have it so right. The test summer and first class cricket should be given the emphasis from October (for first class cricket), November to New Years for test test cricket and then our domestic t20. I also believe that Gideon Haighs summation of the direction that Cricket Australia is taking the game. Are they a cricket administrator or a marketing firm?

  • Shaggy076 on December 23, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    We cant have an article without the pathetic posts by Front-Foot-Lunge, in India we saw a very pathetic indian team who had lost all form of love for test cricket after there demoralising loss to the "minnow" australia, play against a side not good enough to beat the other "minnow" side Sri Lanka. So England are incapable of beating minnow sides and Australia thrash one of the great sides. Under your logic puts England as a minnow and India well below minnow. I'm sure there are many English fans out there who have great knowledge of cricket and its time for you guys to stand up and comment against this guy who is giving all English supporters a bad name.

  • Antomann on December 23, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    Resting Starc after a week's rest. Ludicrous. And people wonder why Test crowds are down.

  • on December 23, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    What a load of crap .Resting blowers because they have played to much cricket.It is time CA take a good look at the big picture.Test cricket should be played Nov- Jan,this way we can have the best players playing .T2O,ODI to be played Jan -Feb.This schedule would allow the fast blowers a chance to recharge their bodies for oversea Tours

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 23, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    The 'Christmas Minnow Big Bash' continues. What an epic battle for the minnow spot this series is, two exceptionally poor cricket teams playing amateurish cricket. How true cricket lovers must mourn the absence of good cricket played, good cricket played by players at the pinnacle of the sport like the recent series we saw in India.

  • warnerbasher on December 23, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    Sutherland continues his plan to push test cricket in this country into the background. The best XI available should be playing every test. it's as simple as that. Sutherlands greed for the 20/20 cash cow is turning cricket in this country into a gimmick with meaningless franchise competitions. Can anybody spot a Sydneysider in the Sydney Thunder team? My suggestion is that test cricket has centre stage during November, December and up to the end of the New Years test and that the BBL start after this. Those that want to watch this meaningless crap can while the rest of us can go on holidays and wait for the winter sports to begin

  • on December 23, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    As much as it pains me, as i'd love to see him playing and gaining more experience, I am not against this decision. I'm not sure why people think Starc is so raring to go. There is plenty of "he's only played two games" comments here but the reality is that he has been playing non stop cricket for the last six months. Playing for Yorkshire, against Pakistan in the UAE, the T20 world cup, Champions League, a couple of shield games for NSW and now the last couple of tests. He has in fact been in everything! Bit of a freshen up won't hurt him and i'm sure he'll be on deck for the SCG.

  • Return-of-Sinhaya on December 23, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    I first thought we should lose this test in two days so that we can prepare properly for the t20 series, but now since Starc and Clarke won't be playing i think we should go for a win, we can practice for the t20's in between the second and third test!!

  • DylanBrah on December 23, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Resting Starc is an absolutely ludicrous decision by CA. He is a young man who is in good form, fit, and eager to play; throw him out there! We need stability, not debutants every other match.

  • RA122 on December 23, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    This is such a strange aproach to the game taken by the Aussie selectors that is hard to fathom. It is a fact that what keeps a young fast bowler going is his rhythm especially if it is boosted by wickets liked Starc's present situation. He is a young bowler who should be given continuous chances to keep his rhythm going rather be strangely protective of him and break his continuity. In my opinion if he played the next match he could have been much more effective as he would be feeling on top of the world with his latest performance. What he gets instead is to sit out in the name of rest to distribute his work load. I don't think this rest is going to do any good to him but I am sure it is going to do lot of harm to a good young fast bowler who must be craving to bowl in the next test match but cannot only due to a strange justification of work load distribution. This decision is unbelievable.

  • meursault on December 23, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Let Starc rest when Harris, Pattinson or Cummins get fit. Until then he should play. It may be ok to rest the best bowler in the country for a test match less important than others (eg not Perth v Sth Africa), but resting an up-and-comer from a Boxing Day test when he's not yet in the best three quicks in the country -- that's a strange call.

  • Sunil_Batra on December 23, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    Alex love your comment, let Clarke rest and get himself 100% rather then risk long term injury and see what the rest of the batsman can do without him. He has got us out of so many sticky situations this year, him and Hussey both have been amazing. Khawaja will do fine, he is second leading shield scorer this year. As for the bowling I am against resting bowlers but lets give this new strategy time and see if it works out, we can't have bowlers breaking down like we have had this year, 7 already, lucky for us we have a big list to pick from.

  • venkatesh018 on December 23, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    There has been a week between Hobart and Melbourne. Play Starc at MCG, win the series and then rest him at SCG. Perhaps the selectors are intending to rest Siddle at Sydney, so they have no option but to rest him.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 23, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Resting Starc is a sure way of increasing the workload of Siddle. Starc doesn't need a rest, he's only played 2 tests and picked up two 5-fors!! He wants to play!! Khawaja needs to bat at 6 with Hussey at 5 if Clarke doesn't play. Batting Khawaja in front of Hussey is an insult.

  • Shaggy076 on December 23, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Seriously people Starc is improving but no superstar, Johnson performed better than him in Perth and could have easily done the same job as Starc in Hobart, the team is not losing anything. THe selectors no doubt feel he could play this game but they dont believe he would be able to back-up for Sydney with the short time between games so they are letting him play his home test. As for the team performance I cant see it changing whether we play Starc or Johnson.

  • Flemo_Gilly on December 23, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Khawaja will do fine if selected but woudl be great to see Clarke take the field. Clarke has to be careful that the temptation of breaking Punter's record does not lead him to play unfit, we need him not only for the third test but for the ODI's and also the important Indian series which is not too far away. I do think its a bit ridiculous that Starc is being rested, Best 11 should always be on the field unless they are actually injured, if not then ask Clarke or another batsman to rest after getting 200 because they are in the danger zone, it would never happen.

  • on December 23, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    Jazz, we have SEVEN fast bowlers on the injury list. It makes common sense to take precautions for players that have had a heavy workload. Having said that, I suspect the fast bowlers are over training.

  • Edwards_Anderson on December 23, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    @WarrenSmith it is a good opportunity for Khawaja and I am sure he will make the best of it if required. Clarke should play but only if he is 100% fit as we don't want to risk him for the rest of the summer similar to how we made Watto prove his fitness after his calve injury. Would have like to see Starc play but that gives a good opprtunity for Bird.

  • Alexk400 on December 23, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Some aussie bowlers going to get injured in next Test i think. Especially i think peter Vegetarian siddle going to be injured and will learn Vegetarian fast bowler is oxy moron. It is easy to bowl in aussie juiced up pitch. he is utter waste in flat wicket in india. That said i like his "effort". he is a effort bowler but being vegatarian one of the joins gone go boom broke.

  • Mary_786 on December 23, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Warren Smith is on the mark, this is a great chance for Khawaja to score but remember guys its for 1 game only so lets not expect miracles. He needs a longer run if he is to show his true class and I think the selectors will give him next time around. I am dissapointed Starc is being rested, this is the biggest game of the season and we need our in form bowlers playing, he has had 7 days rest which is more then enough.

  • Alexk400 on December 23, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Watson should be permanent captain.

  • hycIass on December 23, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    @Warren_Smith agree with you mate, great opportunity for Khawaja if he is required though i hope Clarkey is ready to go. f Khawaja makes it back on to boxing day test match then look for an improvement in his fielding as much as his batting. We know he has scored them in testing conditions, but more importantly he has been keeping the scoreboard ticking over as much with his running as his shot-making which was something the selectors asked him for in their "to do" list i.e rotating the strike.

  • bumsonseats on December 23, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    nice for the Pakistani born khawaja to be back into the team. the so called better batsmen have been found wanting. he could do a good job as hes not a slogger like some of the top order selections have been.

  • HowdyRowdy on December 23, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    Resting Starc is a very big call. I trust that it is made on the best available sports science, but Cricket Australia's track record doesn't inspire confidence in their ability to get this area right.

    Starc's absence will leave a pretty thin bowling group - Michael Johnson away from his beloved WACA, Bird on debut (although he has thoroughly justified his selection and I wish him every success) and Lyon with pressure building on him.

    I hope that Siddle is ready to fire at the MCG and that, if required, Watson has plenty of overs in him.

  • Blakey on December 23, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Can some of the contributors please think before engaging your keyboards? On one hand yopu are bemoaning the selectors taking a careful approach with our 'young' fast bowl;ers whilst on the other, blaming the selecttors for all the injuries. We aren't the only country with young bowlers getting innjuries and we won't be the last. The issue is that we have such an exciting group of bowlers coming through and we all want to see them out on the field. I think in the next couple of years, our bowling attack is going to be scary good. Just let their bodies mature.

  • RaadQ on December 23, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    The good old "pecking order" should be implemented. The best XI should be played according to fitness, form and factors of the game, with players down the pecking order getting a chance when the best XI have an injury, need the occasional rest (which Starc clearly doesn't, that's why he is angry) or if the series is secured to give some players a chance. This idea of "preventative measures" is absurd, and clearly failing since so many of the Aussie bowlers are injured despite it's implementation. So they predicted a few young bowlers getting injured, im sure anyone with the basic knowledge of cricket and fast bowlers could have predicted that...

  • on December 23, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    From SL point of view,non better chance than this to grab their 1st test victory in AUS.clarkey and starc both are in pretty good form.so A massive chance for SL to repeat their performance of durban victory.AT that boxing day test SA rested their most inform bowler philander.so the issue is pretty similar in here too.good luck both sides!!

  • Artiebees on December 23, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    It's part of a grand plan, remove the most threatening bowler we have at all costs to produce best chance of victory.

    Such is the wisdom of Inverarity.

  • wellrounded87 on December 23, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    @200ondebut. You need to lay off the drugs mate. Dave Warner is among the leading run scorers in 2012, Cowan is solid but no superstar, Hughes has earned his way back into the side and played well for his 80+ in hobart. And if you don't think Michael Hussey is a test quality batsmen you have absolutely lost the plot

  • jonesy2 on December 23, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    im staggered that starc is being rested. i know for a fact he will be furious and this is only going to cause issues between the selectors (who have no expertise in the way of knowing when players need to be rested anyway) and the bowlers. on the other hand i cant wait to see bird play, goodluck to him he is as deserving of a baggy green as a bowler can be

  • hhillbumper on December 23, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    Is it just me or do Australian fans hope and pray that Mitchell Johnson gets injured? I mean it must be a tradition now to watch the extras mount when he comes a swinging and a flinging

  • on December 23, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Great chance for Khawaja to step in and put some more pressure on the top order for a spot. Im thinking well soon be seeing a high performing top 4. Add Clarke and Hussey and Wade (barring the superb Prior) into the mix as the best in the business in their positions and the English will be soon be scouting for a few more club grade saffas to shore up their United Nations Xl. Im sure Trott and KP have made plenty of calls allready. Maybe Dernbach and Kieswetter can come up with a few new names. Prior and Strauss seem have done their fair share and should be given a break.

  • ozziespirit on December 23, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Starc sprays it wildly at times and needs to bowl good areas consistently, that's what the best bowlers in the world do. Not sure about Watson as Captain.

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on December 23, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    It used to be you just bowl until you got injured. Now its bowl until you might possibly enter a period where you might have the slightest risk of picking up a small injury...

  • Adoh on December 23, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Has anyone else noticed that Australia is the only country with serious concerns in bowlers breaking down? Surely you should simply play your best in-form team and forget all the talk of rotation etc - because clearly the rotation policy is not working. Has anyone else also observed that bowlers seem to be breaking down proportionally to the size of the Aussie professional support team. This year I was looking forward to seeing Starc play at the MCG. Next year, I'll probably not go because I want to see the best play - based on fitness and form only. This ill conceived risk managment approach is a disappointment and there is not one piece of evidence to support the conclusion that resting achieves anything but a disappointed fan base.

  • philvic on December 23, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    What are they going on about? what oscillations? These are young strong men. If these guys are reasonably fit they should be able to cope with this workload. There are way too many sport physiologists etc involved and not enough common sense.

  • RJHB on December 23, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    I don't agree with Starc missing purely for a rest, but then i'm not coach of Australia! I'd be pretty pissed if one of the older farts goes down during the game again and a fit young guy that should have played is on the sidelines. But this year just seems to be Russian Roulette with the bowlers so who knows?! I know which pitch Starc would rather bowl on though!

  • Marcio on December 23, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    And good foresight shown with Starc, too, Mr Invers. By making him sit out the game, we'll make sure he doesn't sit out any games though injury. It's logical. That's right, Sir. Two can play this game! Beat nature before it beats you! Clever! It worked really when you bought Watson back early from the Champions League to stop him missing any of the SA tests though injury. All systems are go, Captain!

  • Marcio on December 23, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    Someone please get these control freaks away from the team before they do any serious, long term damage! How on hell can you rest Starc when they kid has only played 3 1st class games this season? He needs hard experience, not mothering! Just imagine if any corporate organisation ran like this! It would run into the ground in a few months. Well, if you want soft players, keep giving them soft options. You'd think they might have learned something from the disaster in Perth, which may well have cost us the series. Anyway, good work so far Invers, what, with Watson, Hilfy, Pattinson, Cummins, Hazelwood, and maybe Clarke missing huge chunks of the season through injury.

  • 200ondebut on December 23, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    Oz will miss Clarke as he is the only test quality batsman they have.

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 23, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Johnson adds much needed experience and I thought was always likely to play. This isn't a total surprise. Still a pity for Starc, who is one of the best bowlers in the country.

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  • Ozcricketwriter on December 23, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    Johnson adds much needed experience and I thought was always likely to play. This isn't a total surprise. Still a pity for Starc, who is one of the best bowlers in the country.

  • 200ondebut on December 23, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    Oz will miss Clarke as he is the only test quality batsman they have.

  • Marcio on December 23, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    Someone please get these control freaks away from the team before they do any serious, long term damage! How on hell can you rest Starc when they kid has only played 3 1st class games this season? He needs hard experience, not mothering! Just imagine if any corporate organisation ran like this! It would run into the ground in a few months. Well, if you want soft players, keep giving them soft options. You'd think they might have learned something from the disaster in Perth, which may well have cost us the series. Anyway, good work so far Invers, what, with Watson, Hilfy, Pattinson, Cummins, Hazelwood, and maybe Clarke missing huge chunks of the season through injury.

  • Marcio on December 23, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    And good foresight shown with Starc, too, Mr Invers. By making him sit out the game, we'll make sure he doesn't sit out any games though injury. It's logical. That's right, Sir. Two can play this game! Beat nature before it beats you! Clever! It worked really when you bought Watson back early from the Champions League to stop him missing any of the SA tests though injury. All systems are go, Captain!

  • RJHB on December 23, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    I don't agree with Starc missing purely for a rest, but then i'm not coach of Australia! I'd be pretty pissed if one of the older farts goes down during the game again and a fit young guy that should have played is on the sidelines. But this year just seems to be Russian Roulette with the bowlers so who knows?! I know which pitch Starc would rather bowl on though!

  • philvic on December 23, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    What are they going on about? what oscillations? These are young strong men. If these guys are reasonably fit they should be able to cope with this workload. There are way too many sport physiologists etc involved and not enough common sense.

  • Adoh on December 23, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Has anyone else noticed that Australia is the only country with serious concerns in bowlers breaking down? Surely you should simply play your best in-form team and forget all the talk of rotation etc - because clearly the rotation policy is not working. Has anyone else also observed that bowlers seem to be breaking down proportionally to the size of the Aussie professional support team. This year I was looking forward to seeing Starc play at the MCG. Next year, I'll probably not go because I want to see the best play - based on fitness and form only. This ill conceived risk managment approach is a disappointment and there is not one piece of evidence to support the conclusion that resting achieves anything but a disappointed fan base.

  • jazzaaaaaaaa on December 23, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    It used to be you just bowl until you got injured. Now its bowl until you might possibly enter a period where you might have the slightest risk of picking up a small injury...

  • ozziespirit on December 23, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Starc sprays it wildly at times and needs to bowl good areas consistently, that's what the best bowlers in the world do. Not sure about Watson as Captain.

  • on December 23, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Great chance for Khawaja to step in and put some more pressure on the top order for a spot. Im thinking well soon be seeing a high performing top 4. Add Clarke and Hussey and Wade (barring the superb Prior) into the mix as the best in the business in their positions and the English will be soon be scouting for a few more club grade saffas to shore up their United Nations Xl. Im sure Trott and KP have made plenty of calls allready. Maybe Dernbach and Kieswetter can come up with a few new names. Prior and Strauss seem have done their fair share and should be given a break.