Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13

Ponting 'totally for' rotations

Daniel Brettig

January 21, 2013

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting at the launch of Australia's cricket season, Sydney, October 15, 2012
Ricky Ponting, who retired in December 2012, supported Australia's rotation policy, saying the decisions were taken for the betterment of the team and players © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Australia
Teams: Australia

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

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Posted by On_The_Boundary 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.

Posted by Teachers 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.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (January 22, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

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

Posted by Master_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.

Posted by Leggie 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.

Posted by cricketinblood 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!

Posted by _Pog_ 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.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter 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.

Posted by disco_bob 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.

Posted by whoster on (January 21, 2013, 22:52 GMT)

Ponting is right in saying players need a rest now and again, but the Aussies seem to be going a bit mad with the rotation policy at the moment. Wouldn't have been a bad idea at all if they'd won the SL one-day series - but they haven't, and they'll be heavily criticized. Having said that, the Aussie Test and ODI sides are hardly crammed with 'penciled-in' names. With Watson becoming a batsman-only, that'll weaken them even further. There's gaping holes in the Aussie batting line-up, and they're going to be really tested on spinning Indian wickets and seaming English ones. I hope very much they'll be in for a double-drubbing!

Posted by Nerk on (January 21, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

"These decisions are being made for the right reasons." A lot of poor decisions in history have been made for the 'right reasons.' But if Australia keep chopping and changing their line up, how are they going to build the team culture that defined the teams of the 90s and early 00s, or the current South African line up. At the moment, Australian's cricketers are playing for themselves, trying to prove they ought to be playing every match. They can't bowl in partnerships, because the bowling attack changes every match. They don't know how to run with each other, every players running style is different and players have to learn to adapt. These things take time and stability, thing which cannot happen when the side is being changed with every game.

Posted by tfjones1978 on (January 21, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

I think the best example of a successful rotation system would be to replace warm up matches with matches against the top associate teams. Australia should play three day games against Afganistan and Hong Kong when they tour India as a warm up to the test series. The full members have to stop playing matches against domestic teams and have the top associates teams in that region play some "friendlies" against the visiting team in the host country. Warm up matches already have no financial value, so no one will financially loose out!

Posted by   on (January 21, 2013, 21:15 GMT)

We have witnessed the Rotation Policy .....

Khawaja dropped after 1 ODI, obviously he has played too much cricket.

Within 12hrs the finish of the 2nd ODI, 5 players are announced fit for the 3rd ODI.

Is it now time for the "Spin Policy"?!?!?

Posted by fireballer on (January 21, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Yes Sir, Tell the public before a test match that the best players are rested, see how that works for you.The stands will be empty and the sponsors and tv rights folks will be crying ,not fair,not fair........we need to make MONEY!!!!!!

Posted by Narkovian on (January 21, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

Not the first time I have said this... But it seems self-evident to me the problem of "rotating" players only exists because there is far too much International cricket. If you play what is basically your Second XI, and it will nearly always be against a team you consider inferior, or a series of no consequence,then firstly you are denigrating your opponent, and secondly you are cheating the public who didnt buy tickets ( sometimes months in advance) to watch a Second XI. Thirdly you are asking to be beaten. Just like is happening in Australia now, and also England in India. The only answer is to stop playing series of matches which are really of little consequence, and will be forgotten in two weeks time.

Posted by PrasPunter on (January 21, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Absolutely true Sir. With the volume of cricket played, not sure if it is a great idea to have someone play every game. And the bilateral ODI series are fast losing importance and relevance. On any day, I would have my players fit as a fiddle for a test-series rather than tire them playing meaningless limited-over games. But as Punter said, it is the duty of CA to inform the paid public about the things and the real intentions behind their actions. And as a first step, the ICC shall limit the ODIs to not more than 3, if it has to follow or precede a test-series. That's how it used to be in England in the 80's when the visiting teams would play only 2 or 3 ODIs. How things have turned for worse now !!

Posted by RaadQ on (January 21, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

The problem isn't a policy of rotation, but THE rotation policy. Making too many changes at once means that the selectors will not be able to asses the impact of missing a few players. Instead, one or two changes should be made at a time to see the difference one/two players make to each aspect of the team (opening, middle order, lower order, pace attack, spin, WK, etc). This will also allow the selectors to find the leaks to seal and will give the players a better chance by being rotated into a stable squad, so they can find their role in the team (& so can the selectors). I believe Warner shouldn't have been rested, and Wade's replacement should have been someone who can be a long term prospect (not Haddin, but maybe Paine?) Also time for Hussey to retire as his brother did.

Posted by gsingh7 on (January 21, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

"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"?? a bit premature talk ricky , first we need to see if they can prevent second series loss in 2 months , also aus record in india test is abyssmal , apart from 2004 series 2-1 aus have never won any series in india and u certainly dont have talent of past aussie teams , i wud say repeat of 2010 whitewash very much possible 3-0 india

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 21, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

You Good Punter.Now Ponting should be Overtake Batting Coaching role of Ozzz

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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