Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 January 21, 2013

Ponting 'totally for' rotations


Ricky Ponting has stated a most eloquent case for rotating Australia's cricketers at appropriate times in a calendar that, he argues, is now impossible for any player to negotiate without a break.

Citing his own decision to retire from Twenty20 Internationals as a personal form of workload management, Ponting said a series of indifferent displays against Sri Lanka should not be used as evidence of a failed policy. Instead, he reckoned that Cricket Australia may have to do more to educate broadcasters, sponsors and the public about what they were doing when resting the likes of Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade.

"The rotational thing... I'm totally for it," Ponting told Inside Cricket. "The thing we have to understand is that the people who are making these decisions are making them for the right reasons, and they're making them for the betterment they think of the team and the betterment of individual players there and then at the time.

"I made some decisions in my career, to retire from T20 cricket when I did, to be as fresh as I could be for every one-day game and every Test match I played. Some of the guys, or most of the guys, in this current team are playing all three forms of the game and IPL and Champions League. They're playing a lot of cricket. So I can understand why the public would at some times be disappointed that our best players aren't playing every game, but I really think it is impossible to expect that our best players do play every game."

Ponting cited the examples of other sports, the schedules of which cricket has only recently begun to reflect when T20 tournaments began to fill up the off-season periods traditionally used for rest and pre-season fitness training.

"If you look at Manchester United or the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan probably didn't start in every game the Chicago Bulls played, and Wayne Rooney and those guys don't start, certainly don't play every game Manchester United play," Ponting said."But I think an educational process should be put in place to let the sponsors, the people who are covering the game and the fans understand what's actually going to happen before the day the team is announced."

Rather than railing at sports science invading the game, Ponting said that the greater amount of knowledge at the fingertips of coaches, selectors and CA management represented a step forward from the culture of "cricket fit" he had entered as a teenaged first-class debutant in 1992.

"These days, it's all about the athlete and everything that's happening with sports science around the Australian cricket team is to try and get the best out of each one of our players," Ponting said. "I know there'll be arguments at the moment suggesting that what we're doing is not working or we should go back to the way it was 10 or 15 years ago. But I've been around and seen it all and I think the track we're on is definitely the right one.

"We need to be giving every young player the best chance to be everything they can be and hopefully on Wednesday, you'll see the boys bounce back; and when we get to India, you'll see them play some great cricket there, and it'd be great to see the Test team win the Ashes back as well. If they do that, then a lot of the critics, a lot of the things being talked about around Australian cricket at the moment, will be silenced."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shane on January 23, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Rotating players is fine, as they can easily get over-cooked. However it should only be 1 or 2 players at a time, to keep the flavour of the team intact. Missing too many players in a single game can leave a bad taste in the mouth, called defeat.

  • M on January 22, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    Critics of the current structure need to know that cricketers are employees of Australian Cricket. The policies set in place by their employers are for the betterment the individual players, the team, and with the interests of Australian Cricket at heart. Whether this process is correct can only be proved by time. Pointing is right, if we continue to win critics will be silenced. The rest of the International cricket community will be tempted to copy a new process that they have not tried. Pointing is also right that the Cricket Board needs to educate the general press and public. As Michael Clarke says, this team no longer has top notch members who can carry injured team mates, hence the emphasis on resting players deemed at risk. This choice can no longer be entrusted to the player himself, but to experts like sports scientists. With due respect to Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Ian Chappell, they did not have to contend with all 3 forms of the game, the IPL and Champions League and BBL.

  • Eddie on January 22, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    ponting should have been rotated out of the side 3 years before he ''chose" to retire

  • Mihil on January 22, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    I think this "rotation policy" is a trend setter. I think Srilanka should implement something like this as well. Then we could have cricket played all year round, and people at home could watch national team playing instead of IPL, and even after that. And that will be a good chance to new players to come in and have their skills pruned under the coaching of the national side. For a country with very limited facilities through out the island, this policy will be a masterstroke.

  • Sudhakar on January 22, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    If "rotation" is a policy to offset "too much cricket", why not address the root of the issue and stop "too much cricket". Having a pool of 25-30 players play for the country may be good in theory, but spoils the idea of a core team and largely dilutes the interest of the public as well. When I see Australia have so many new faces every match, I'm hardly able to identify it as an Aussie team and can't see the energy of a core Aussie team of the 90s and 2000s. This is a far shadow of those brilliant teams.

  • Ravi on January 22, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    @tfjones1978.....mate I think that you came up with the right idea about warm ups....if done against the associates, would be beneficial to both. Associates' confidence will recieve a boost!

  • Michael on January 22, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    I'm sick of this stupid comparison between club and country.

    The difference between playing for Chicago Bulls/Manchester United and playing for Australia is that playing for Australia is representative sport.

    The public expects that players in representative teams are the best players.

    If you need a rotation policy for representative teams then you're playing too many games.

  • Adrian on January 21, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Ricky Ponting was and still is a magnificent T20 player who could have seriously cashed in on his skills; but he didn't. Sure, he signed an IPL contract but played all of 2 games and then that was it for his career. This speaks volume about how genuine he is when speaking about this.

  • disco on January 21, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    Rotation can improve the team if used correctly. For example, if Hughes only fires once every three games, then he should only be played every third game and rested on the other two. If this is done for all players then we will have a team where every player is bound to perform every game.