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Selectors can't have it both ways

If Australia's selectors expect informed public debate on player rotations, they must be prepared to inform the public.

Brydon Coverdale

January 14, 2013

Comments: 56 | Text size: A | A

John Inverarity watches Australia's practice session, Melbourne, December 24, 2011
John Inverarity and his fellow selectors kept mum on the specifics of why certain bowlers were rested. Not surprisingly, that left plenty of room for the media to criticise the resting of players © Getty Images

The national selector John Inverarity is one of the more unflappable members of Cricket Australia's staff. He backs his decisions, explains them publicly and worries little about criticism. A lifetime of involvement in the game has given him good reason to have such confidence. So it was notable at the announcement of Australia's ODI squad on Monday when Inverarity interrupted while being asked a question about player rotations.

"I presume you mean informed player management," Inverarity said to the journalist, before the question had been completed.

It was a testy response and it suggested a growing frustration from Australia's selectors at the way their rotating of players - sorry, informed player management - is being viewed by the media and the public. The coach Mickey Arthur expressed similar views on Sunday night. Their annoyance is understandable. There was an outcry when Mitchell Starc was left out of the Boxing Day Test, despite the plan having merit, as there had been when Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus sat out of the Perth Test against South Africa earlier in the summer. And again when Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade were rested from the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka.

But if Inverarity and his fellow selectors expect informed public debate, they need to inform the public.

Siddle and Hilfenhaus had endured a heavy workload in the second Test in Adelaide, where James Pattinson had broken down mid-match, and the short gap before the Perth Test did not help their recovery. On the eve of the Test, the captain Michael Clarke announced that Siddle and Hilfenhaus would be left out because "both guys are still quite fatigued after Adelaide".

As the Perth Test wore on, it emerged that the pair had not simply been rested, but had specific injury niggles. Siddle had a tight hamstring and Hilfenhaus a sore knee. But that information wasn't revealed before the match. Not surprisingly, that left plenty of time for the media to criticise the resting of players.

"Peter Siddle after the Adelaide game a) was exhausted and b) had a really tight hamstring," Inverarity said on Monday. "If he'd played it was unlikely that he'd have got through the game. It was the right decision."

And when Starc was left out in Melbourne, there was still more criticism of the decision. He had bowled Australia to victory in the previous Test in Hobart. He had emerged as a Test cricketer for the first time. But in the lead-up to the Boxing Day Test, Inverarity said Starc's workload was a concern and he would not play both the Melbourne and Sydney Tests. After Sunday's ODI loss in Adelaide - three weeks after Boxing Day - Arthur revealed there was more to it.

"He had an ankle impingement," Arthur said. "He's got spurs that are going to require an operation at some stage. We're hoping that will be a year down the line, but at some stage that is going to give in. There was no point in us playing him in a Boxing Day Test match and risk losing him for the one-day series and then for a tour of India. That would've been plain stupid."

During the same interview, Arthur said: "I've been really annoyed and frustrated by some of the articles that have been going around. For me it's common sense. It's either very naive or just a little bit stubborn that people don't understand what we're doing."

For Arthur and Inverarity, it might be common sense. But did the public know Starc had bone spurs in his ankle? Did the media? No. They were not told. If they had been, the selectors might have found they had far more support. But if information is withheld, public discourse cannot be anything but naïve. Of course people won't understand what the selectors are doing. How can they? Strangely, Inverarity seems happy with the process.

"I don't think it's in the interests of the player to reveal every little niggle. I don't," Inverarity said. "Players don't want to be seen as vulnerable or physically suspect, and we respect that. That's the right decision. We won't always say that he's got a bit of a bad knee, because then more can be made of it and it's awkward for the player. We'd rather take the heat than the players."

You can't have it both ways. The selectors are not obliged to explain every inclusion or exclusion, or reveal every minor injury. But if they don't, they shouldn't sell the public the "informed player management" line. Nor should they be surprised when their decisions are questioned.

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

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hyclass on (January 16, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

@Hippiantor...There is a vast chasm between the revelation of an underlying injury in the AFL where body to body contact is intrinsic to the game and Cricket where it has no relevance. With respect to Mitchell Johnson, his career would appear to support any view of his emotional susceptibility and be proven to be both pre-existing and true. I therefore deem the impact of the reporting of such information after the fact to be irrelevant. It should be understood that these are extremely well remunerated people who get paid to play sport. Any small inconveniences that they may appear to suffer as a consequence are minute in the scheme of the lives of most Australians.There is a significant disparity in both the timing and integrity of the information being supplied by the NSP that gives credence to any reporting and questioning of it. I doubt that it would withstand the witnesses chair at trial but the NSP are prone to running their own rules-ergo the necessity for Argus and the media.

Posted by Meety on (January 16, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

@ johnathonjosephs on (January 15 2013, 18:47 PM GMT) - small point, but Herath is NOT a good ODI bowler. He is a fine (outstanding) Test bowler. Point well made with Sanga & Chandimal though. However if you want to start talking A & B teams, SL A beat Oz A. I prefer to say it is 1all between two good ODI nations!

Posted by Hippiantor on (January 15, 2013, 22:16 GMT)

@hyclass, point taken, however I do believe there is a balance between giving and suppressing the details of injuries. Constant media (and public) speculation about fitness/injuries/personal life can have a negative impact on a player's confidence and ability to perform ( Mitch Johnson 09 Ashes). It can give public perception that the player is soft. As you say being in the spotlight is part and parcel of this career, however I believe the selectors if feel they need to protect the player from the spotlight then so be it. Resting due to niggles commonly happens in other sports such as the AFL, and the media and public seem to understand that there is underlying injury niggle and accept the club's reluctance to reveal specifics. This whole idea of player management is new to cricket so it will take time for the media and public and selectors to adjust. I'm not saying Inverity, and co have handled this perfectly but I understand their position.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 15, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

What do people say to that a Sri Lanka B team beat Australia? No Sangakkara, no Chandimal, and no Herath? Sangakkara is the best batsman on the team and Herath is the best bowler. That obviously says something.

Posted by Winsome on (January 15, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

Well said, Jono Makim. The selectors invariably cop little except criticism but quite frankly, it's not their fault. Australia at the moment just doesn't have the cattle at their disposal to be no 1 in tests or one dayers.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 15, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

eric-bryan; its not just a few tests that has added to Starc's workload. Glenn Mcgrath has always talked about having a window for a pre-season where bowlers can do work with weights and no bowling giving them the strength to get through a season. They dont have the opportunity while playing to do weights whilst they are on the playing circuit. Starc has gone from touring West Indies, playing one-dayers in England, playing English county cricket to the champions trophy, to test cricket. He missed the first few games but I bet he bowled a lot of overs in the nets. The selectors decided he was not at 100% for that game and a fresher bowler would be better. You must remember that he hasnt had a pre-season and now needs to play one-dayers, tour India, ICC champions trophy, back to back Ashes series and then tour SOuth Africa over the next 13 months. 17 tests, approximately 40 one day games and around 10 T20 games. Thats a lot of cricket so preserving bowlers makes sense.

Posted by hyclass on (January 15, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

@Hippiantor...while I appreciate your desire to denigrate all things media, the irony that you have the ability to present an opinion because you're working on that media's forum, should not be lost on you. I encourage you to be specific and describe how you believe it is counter productive and in what manner this site or the media have abjured their percentage of the bargain.CA is dependent upon the media for its livelihood and that is not the case in reverse.There is no information about any player injury on any cricket side in the world that has any relevance once the players take the field. How is back soreness of a batsmen or bowler important to the opposition? It isnt and never could be.Either the players can bat bowl and field or they cant.Players are paid to be in the spotlight. If they have no interest in being observed, perhaps they should choose a desk job. We arent talking about hidden cameras. This is legitimate journalism of the kind that encourages integrity of process.

Posted by AB99 on (January 15, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

A whole load of nonsense 2 - 3 weeks after dropping a player, there is a 'supposed' injury the player had at that time. There appers a pttern in Siddle and Starc being dropped and reasons coming later. And what kind of support staff is it that cannot get a player fit in time for back-to-back test matches. In such a case CA shd not plan back-to-back tests in the future. It is this same Chairman of Selectors who did not think it was fit to give Mike Hussey a farewell across ODIs in Australia ... the Indian selectors are better than the CA selectors ...

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (January 15, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

Okay I'll accept rotation but what I don't accept is ridiculous rotation. Exactly how do the selectors justify rotating Khwaja for game two when he had been run out, particularly as he has clearly improved in the area they needed him to - his fielding. Not much of a message. Meanwhile a bowler with technical deficiencies that have been highlighted throughout the season is selected and rotated in as one of only 3 seamers on a seam friendly pitch. How much of Kane Richardson's bowling did the selectors watch? It's amazing he even gets through an over let alone 4 in the BB.

Posted by Meety on (January 15, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

@landl47 on (January 15 2013, 04:30 AM GMT) - T20s, a big YES! ODIs, maybe it was sort of trialled at INternational level before, TESTS a big NO! It should be a test of endurance, coming from an Ozzy who would of dearly loved to replace Patto in Adelaide.

Posted by proteasfan99 on (January 15, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

I think Invy has got it bad. If he is saying Starc's workload is heavy after a few tests then the guy will never play more than 50 tests. That goes for the whole Aussie squad. The South African squad does not change much apart from a few niggles here and there. Steyn and Morkel bowl fast and continue to play all around the world but we barely talk of them getting injured or rotated after one or two tests. Kallis does both at 37 but we rarely here of that. Maybe the shorter formatts may be the rest field but you need the best eleven in a test match. The situation with Siddle and Hilfenhaus was understandable but not this whole rubbish they are trying to justify. The priority is international cricket and players should be fit to play long test careers.

Posted by Hippiantor on (January 15, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

I'm sick to death of all the criticism of the selection policies, and think that the all the commentators, and past players need to butt out. Now we have Warney whinging that Pattinson isn't allowed to play for the Stars, talk about a conflict of interest. These decisions are made on the best available evidence. There actually were no players during the Test series that were "rested," all were carrying injuries. Australia has always rested its key players during the ODI series, nothing has changed. @hyclass it is counterproductive to disclose every injury a player has as it places the player under intense spotlight Every sport hides or tries to downplay the severity of player injuries. Nothing is different here. Also every fast bowler virtually always carries an injury. The media hypes up everything and should NOT be told the details of injuries.

Posted by hyclass on (January 15, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

I encourage someone to explain how either of these matches were valuable to Inverarity with a view to the long term, what if anything was or could be learned from the results and whether any of that was contrary in an even-handed fashion to what was already known from Shield and List A results. It's all very well being high-handed but if Inverarity proposes a theory,he needs to explain the outcomes and their value versus the established method.I have seen nothing in the last five years that supersedes the long standing established method in terms of successful application.If,as Ponting said,that when he was first chosen,one needed to average almost 60 in Shield to make the Test team,it was because that system encouraged it.So successful were those methods, that they became an international blue-print for any country in pursuit of excellence and our coaches became sought after.Under what possible pretext,would,could or should a blue-print for excellence ever be changed to disadvantage?

Posted by hyclass on (January 15, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

I do hope this article gives everyone here cause for introspection. I dont ever recall a time, team or organisation that sanctioned possible failure as a policy.Australia lost an International match and many here are so conditioned to PR that they've lost the ability to recall how much that should matter.The only reason 11 players take the field for their country, is supposedly to win. The only team that should be doing that is the team that is best capable of it.The selectors duty is to select that team. Yet here they are condoning picking on distant future theories rather than current performance. I find that staggering. Water always flows downhill.If those who employ the national side have sanctioned wholesale changes to a side for the purpose of experimentation and investigation that might otherwise be done elsewhere,how then are the players to give meaning to it.Representing Australia used to be an honour. Based on the last five years,the quality of that honour has become doubtful

Posted by hyclass on (January 15, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

I find the criticism of the media by some bloggers that has suddenly arisen on this article to be vexatious.The relationship between CA & the media is symbiotic,but not an even split.The media can easily survive without cricket but I highly doubt that the inverse is true.The NSP and CA would do well to recall the recent dramatisation of WSC and how quickly a groundswell of change can undermine a poorly or non-functioning establishment.The premise of this article is more than reasonable. If CA believes that criticism of it is a consequence of the media being poorly informed on specifics to which it wishes to retain privilege,I fail to understand what principles it proposes for that relationship which it would find satisfactory.Journalism is the observation of evidence and supply of rationale based upon it.CA claims that divulging that evidence is counter-productive AND that that reporting needs to incorporate that evidence to be authentic.Its insulting to the media & defies intelligence

Posted by Marko12 on (January 15, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

I would've thought that's what the media needed to learn - you can't have it both ways. I could be drawing a long bow, but what is Pat Howards influence in terms of fitness preparation, and what are his examining criteria's? Because it seems a little odd that all of a sudden Australia are getting endless injuries, all at once. I don't want to step on his toe's, but we're having a lot of injuries to players moreso than ever before to guys who are not only good cricketers but good athlete's. Something isn't quite right about that.

Posted by landl47 on (January 15, 2013, 4:30 GMT)

Let's go in another direction here. Living in North America I'm used to seeing sports where players are substituted all the time during the game. NFL football, ice hockey, basketball and baseball are all played by squads and players rotate in and out of the game. It used to be the case in soccer and rugby that players could not be substituted; now a number of substitutions are not only allowed, but planned for by coaches.

Cricket is the only major sport where substitutions (except for fielding) are not allowed. A lot of the arguments and discontent might be avoided if cricket were to allow, say, 3 substitutes during the course of a game who could do anything- bat, bowl, keep wicket. It would improve the standards of play because each side would have no tailenders and no bits and pieces bowlers. Injuries during a game wouldn't be such an issue (like SL only batting 8 players in a test match). Workloads would decrease and the stars would be available for every game.

How about it?

Posted by sando31 on (January 15, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

The best 11 need to be on the field, if the workload of important players such as Warner, Clarke, wade, pattinson, starc are reduced, more injuries can occur. We can't afford to lose blokes of this calibre for tours of india and especially england. If all of these guys play in the ashes, i think we can cause an upset

Posted by lillie_express on (January 15, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

This is ridiculous. Invers and co have turned picking the national side into a scientific's not to be scientific. Pick the best players end of story. The public pay to watch the best players, the teams sole purpose is entertainment. How dare invers tell joe bloggs to spend his hard earned cash to watch australia A, they pay to watch the best. How rude, showing no respect for the public. Forget the future, the cricket happens now.

Posted by ygkd on (January 15, 2013, 1:37 GMT)

I'm with @hyclass. There's too much PR and not enough Product. It is an irony, is it not, that in this "information age" that we are told so much and yet know so little. I'm sure there is much that we don't really need to know but we do want to know what parameters are used for selection. Such things should be relatively transparent whether it's a club, district, regional, state or national team. If it isn't, people lose faith. Inverarity is an intelligent man. I'm sure he can understand that. However, can CA change course?

Posted by Meety on (January 15, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

@ Moppa on (January 14 2013, 09:40 AM GMT) - there was some extrapolation from me there. Before the series v Sth Africa started, an article ran where they said they would rotate a young pacer between Hilfy & Siddle, throughout the Sth Africa series, then they MIGHT rest Siddle & Hilfy v Sri Lanka, which would bring MJ into the picture as a seasoned veteren to team up with the younger bowlers like Cummins, Starc & Pattinson. So I probably extended a bit there, but I think it would of been on their minds big time.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

Give the selectors a break,! Players will always want to play, whether its in their best interest or not. Selectors need to do whats best for the team and country's interest. Their success is judged by wins and losses over their tenure, so of course they want to be successful. The point has already been made that cricket is a unique sport and fast bowling puts stresses on the body different to other sports. Young men physically strengthen and mature at 25, and all the injuries are to the young bowlers so we need to protect them. Also, i wish people would stop bashing t20! T20 is drawing younger kids back to cricket and the sport cannot survive without a strong public interest.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

While I agree with Aussie team management that players need to be rested because of the workload that today's players have to carry (especially those who play all 3 formats), I think a more balanced approach should be used when rotating players. By this I mean they should not sit Clark, Warner and Wade at the same time. They are 3 of the more entertaining players that Australia have and to sit them out of the last ODI, robs the fans of quality for their money, not to mention it weakens the team to degree that they are likely to be beaten. Warner and Clark should never be out of the team at the same time for the purpose of rest. They are your 2 biggest drawing card!! I do believe that the "quicks" should be rotated (to keep them injury-free and fresh) especially when they all have quality and there is not a noticeable drop-off in performance inspite of which of these bowlers play.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

Too much being made of it all now. Let's just get it right, because its painfully obvious that it isn't. Take more notice of the players themselves - its worked well for a long time for Australian cricket and there's no reason it can't continue to work well. Make the selectors accountable for their decisions and get rid of the demi-god status which is afforded to the sports scientists.

Posted by __PK on (January 14, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

The public doesn't care about the reason a player won't make it through a game (fatigue vs injury). The selectors don't care about informed public debate. The only people who care about these things are the media and they're pissed because they're constantly being made to look stupid because they won't do their research properly and expect to be told everything. A self-serving article which adds nothing to the supposedly important "informed public debate."

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (January 14, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

Whatever you call it the right squad needs to be selected for each match. If you keep selecting for the future, rather than the now, you will continue to slide down world rankings. Is it " informed player management" when you only take three seamers in to Australian conditions as was the case in both Melbourne (luckily SL self destructed) and Adelaide (luckily Aus didn't win the toss and bowl first whish may have again masked the poor squad balance as bowling first is a significant advantage on a tack SA wicket which later settles). At least we leaned that Kane Richardson has some big issues to address with his running down the danger area. I am glad that umpire Erasmus had the fortitude to follow the appropriate protocols. Has any one noticed this in his State and BBL bowling. If only the same umpiring jurispudence was applied to the plethora of bowlers chucking the doosra these days.

Posted by Beertjie on (January 14, 2013, 18:54 GMT)

@hyclass on (January 14 2013, 08:11 AM GMT) Superb set of quotes:"CA is just a different version of the same PR driven, evidence avoiding shambles that it was before Argus. Any credit for small successes is down to the players alone." @ hyclass on (January 14 2013, 11:25 AM GMT) Couldn't agree more, mate: "The most probable reason for them not giving press to their actions is because it doesnt give them an out later on. Virtually all of the information is an,'after the fact addition'. Very convenient....No-one seems to be taking responsibility, something we were assured of after Argus". Spot on @Busie1979 on (January 14 2013, 12:47 PM GMT) about rotating the right players! We don't need special treatment being dished out to favourites - we need the right personnel in the first place. Stop this spin-doctoring Invers or you'll go the way of your predecessor.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 15:23 GMT)

I think it's unfortunate that most of the Australia sport's media have a less than adequate understanding of sport a lot of the time. Why do we need to know exactly what niggle a player might have. As player you don't neccesarily want your opponents to know what little niggles you might have so it's definitely best if this information is kept private. This whole article was basically an attack on the selection panel. Fairly annoying given how bad the previous panel was and how much of an improvement this one has been. Do you think that, 2 years out from a world cup and with 3 very difficult test series coming up, the selectors shouldn't be resting players from a very low key series against Sri Lanka. Also rotating players in this manner gives the fringe players a chance to feel a part of the squad so that if we do need to call up someone like Khawaja or Kane Richardson for the world cup or in khawaja's case an important test match they will be ready.

Posted by Eskay13 on (January 14, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

@Andross, I believe your last sentence (you really, really hate.....) describes exactly what the media is doing as well. The difference though is that the selection panel's job is to select a team, and the media's job is to try and convey the right message to the public. You figure it out.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

@Hyclass, well I certainly would have had Warner and M.Hussey in there. I understand the reasoning behind including the likes of Finch and Smith though and if nothing else we'll be learning who can and can't cut it at the next level well out from the next WC. I know that you are very much a "best xi should Play" kind of man, but i just don't see that functioning anymore.

Posted by Eskay13 on (January 14, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

Mr. Coverdale's argument does not hold water for me on several counts. Cricket is no longer the seasonal game it used to be. Cricket teams play some form of cricket all year long, and a large portion of the Aussie team plays all 3 forms of the game. The media may be lagging back in an era when injuries were the only reason a player didn't play. Times have changed. Where previously players could play through a "niggle", they do now need to be RESTED. It seems from Mr. Coverdale's summary that the media has not grasped this just yet. If the only way for the media to comment sensibly is that they are spoon-fed every last detail, then that is not mature media. If their only reaction to a perceived lack of clarity (or as Bryon calls it a situation that leaves "plenty of room for the media to criticise") is to barge into that room and to criticise without giving the situation a second thought, then that is not mature media.

Posted by tfjones1978 on (January 14, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

I agree with the selection panel. This panel is the best panel I have ever seen. Anyone that has read my comments on this site and others over the years would know how critical I have been of at best poor selection panels. I dont care who we put on the field, as long as our best players are the ones that get selected first and are not missed for players that are not in form or have not proved themselves. The current selection panel have selected our best players and are resting them to develop our next best side. Every sport does this, cricket now is 24/7 and fans have to accept that. I was saddened like every Aussie that we lost the second test by 10 overs, but lets face it ... in two years time that lose will be worth more to a developing side then a win with our best players that break down during the match. Our best side was rested for first two matches as they just played SIX tests in only a few weeks. They are humans, let us not forget that!

Posted by snarge on (January 14, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

As usual, your line of argument does you no credit Coverdale. Inveraray is spot on when he says the public doesn't need to be informed of every little injury. Just because the media is hungry for every story they can find does not mean that they should be indulged when it is not in the best interests of the team and the game. Your last two sentences in response to this are absolutely illogical. There are areas which are simply the realm of the players and selectors, and not the media and public. We as cricket fans are mature enough to understand this. It is time the media were too.

Posted by Andross on (January 14, 2013, 13:10 GMT)

@Dr.Qwert Touché

But I also want to add, if Starc had these niggling bone spurs as we have been told, then why was he so furious about being left out of the Melbourne Squad. Surely if it was so sensible, Starc would have agreed, or at least grudgingly accepted the reasoning instead of complaining about it on Twitter. And if the selectors don't want to give specifics of the players injuries due to privacy concerns, then just be vague about it, "Starc is being rested due to a minor injury."

The statement itself is indicative. Generally people don't correct things like calling it Rotation instead of Informed Player Management (which by the way is a stupid and appropriately trendy name), unless they're really on the back foot about something, and if it's really been as successful and cleaver as they say, what's there to be on the back foot about?

That and I really, REALLY hate it when people criticise people's intelligence just because they have a different view to them.

Posted by Busie1979 on (January 14, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

My issue is not with "horses for course", rotation, "informed player management", or whatever the next manifestation of the policy is going to be, the point is that the ODI team selections have been farcical for some time. Last year, Pete Forrest got picked with a List A average of about 26 and a strike rate under 70. This year one of the reasons Khawaja and Hughes got picked for the ODIs is so they don't play in the big bash. Additionally, of all the fast bowlers who could have been picked (eg. NCN, Faulkner, McDermott, Hastings etc) they picked Kane Richardson!!! Cutting is a good prospect, but his List A record is average compared with NCN and Faulkner. I don't care about rotation, but the right players need to be rotated.

Posted by o-bomb on (January 14, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

I think Byron's reasoning is spot on here. If a niggle is bad enough to keep a player out of a test match, than that is what should be given as the reason for that player not playing. It is clear that if Siidle and Hilfenhaus were fully fit and rested they would have been on the team sheet for the Perth test. They were each left out due to an injury, yet the world was told they were left out due to squad rotation. That was misleading and caused much discontent in the Australian cricket watching public, especially as Australia went on to lose the test. Their injuries (despite being mere "niggles") were bad enough that they didn't play and that should have been given as the reason for their non-appearance.

Posted by hyclass on (January 14, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

@Nerk...I recall the words of my first captain and coach growing up. 'Batting and bowling are all about partnerships.'There was an old world wisdom in it the could well be applied here. I agree entirely with your observations. There seems to be a suggestion that being part of the squad or on team camps has the same value as developing long term partnerships in the middle. It's an idea that opposes intelligence. As much as the great players themselves, we recall the great partnerships at both batting and bowling crease. More importantly,our national team with its 135 year history enshrining our emerging national identity,has represented a certainty of ideals and ethic that gives comfort in a fast changing world. In some ways, player rotation robs the public of that certainty and the relationships they develop with sporting heroes.Ultimately all of life is about relationships.In removing the ability of the public to build those with a consistent team,they diminish the brand & its appeal.

Posted by hyclass on (January 14, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

@Jono Makim...Ive been watching cricket in Australia since the early 70's and am very widely read on the subject. Ive also operated my own companies and am in the process of building a new one.If I were to operate in a such a random and careless manner and then claim after the fact that I had been misunderstood, I could hardly expect sympathy. The most probable reason for them not giving press to their actions is because it doesnt give them an out later on. Virtually all of the information is an,'after the fact addition'. Very convenient. Im sorry but the team selected for the 2nd ODI was farcical and didnt represent any intelligence or rational policy. No-one seems to be taking responsibility, something we were assured would change after Argus. Im confident that you yourself could name a better side from the available players. The idea of developing a squad 2 years from an event is absurd when players are regularly injured or out of form. Thats the entire reason for Shield and List A.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 14, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

As RandyOZ would say, 'the cupboard is bare'.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (January 14, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

@Nerk, it's pretty obvious why the policy was different when Arthur was with SA. They had only two bowlers. The backup players are mostly way worse than the infield team. Nothing has changed. Would you rest Steyn for Kleinvelt? LOL

Posted by StaalBurgher on (January 14, 2013, 11:06 GMT)

I feel for CSA. The media is making a mountain out of a molehill. It makes sense to rest a player at strategic times. SA does it all the time during T20/ODI series'. We just don't call it "rotation". Funny how having something as an official policy compared everyone else doing it unofficially is reminding me of the hypocrisy elsewhere in history.

Posted by Dr.Qwert on (January 14, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

I have no issue with resting pace ballers to avoid injury. Starc, Hilf and Siddle each required the rest. I don't mind resting Clarke with a niggling hamstring. But why give Clarke, Warner and Wade a rest for the same 2 ODIs? Surely Warner and/or Wade could have happily played a game or 2 before being rested and not have left the team quite so depleted?

Or are we to take from this that Wade and Warner also have niggling injuries?

Posted by shane_gun on (January 14, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

The selectors need to take the heat off the players and it is a welcome notion to have a selection panel which will come out and justify it's own decisions. It is of little worth to the pragmatist, whether reasons behind decisions are revealed publicly on the morning of a test match or a month later. However, it is of great worth to not have articles written about player vulnerability, with quotes from 1970's cricketers stating 'it was tougher in my day'. Secondly, ODI's are a farce and deserve little more credit than having B teams auditioning for national selection.

Posted by   on (January 14, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

@Hyclass, I think nearly all the problems here lie with the PR of the NSP and coaching staff when dealing with the media and public. There doesn't seem to be nearly the confusion between the former and the players now, that there was under Hilditch. Personally I think they are getting most of the player selections right now. Its easy to say "any eleven will do", but just which seamers do you pick when guys like Siddle and Bird are obvious test specialists and all the other seamers are in their injury beds? Guys like Warner, Wade and Clarke were all due a rest too, at the end of the day, they are not cricket playing machines but a bunch of ordinary blokes. Having said that, I really think they should have had Mike Hussey playing the season out. He is the one man out there available for selction, with a great record not being selected. The rest is up for grabs.

Posted by sifter132 on (January 14, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

"He had an ankle impingement," Arthur said. "He's got spurs that are going to require an operation at some stage". Anyone notice the tense change? I'm guessing Starc didn't have bone spurs on Boxing Day, and now he does have them - and was left out of this most recent ODI because of them. That doesn't mean Starc wasn't injured on Boxing Day, but back then he probably had just a niggle, now he's got a more serious problem. Seems rest didn't really help it. Or perhaps the rest needed to be longer. I sympathise with the selectors mostly, fans love to have a whine about the team, and 'rotation' is just a convenient target.

Posted by Nerk on (January 14, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

It is amazing that Australia is the only country with such a strategy. Indeed, I recall when Arthur was coach of Sth Africa, his policy was quite the opposite. He wanted to stick with the same eleven match in and match out, unless injury intervened. That was one of the reasons why Sth Africa have such a good team, one almost comparable to Australia of the 90s and the Windies of the late 70s and 80s. Now, he has changed his tune completely. From what both he and Inverarity have said recently, it seems like they are coming up with excuses. If an injury needing surgery made them leave Starc out of the Melbourne test, why did he play in Sydney. And why was Starc so evidently annoyed. He didn't know he was injured, but the selectors did. Excuses, excuses for a system that is failing Australian cricket.

Posted by Moppa on (January 14, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

Do the bone spurs really explain Starc's MCG rest? They sound to me like a medium-term degenerative thing, rather than something which would suddenly get worse due to consecutive Test matches. Further, when do the 'informed player managers' anticipate Starc having this operation? During the Ashes next summer, or between back-to-back Ashes series? Having said all that, I fully accept that Siddle and Hilfenhaus had to be rested at the WACA given their efforts at Adelaide. I also have no problem with resting Clarke, Wade and Warner - key players such as Gilchrist and Ponting used to have rests during the ODI part of the summer quite a few years ago now. @Meety, I don't recall the story that Pattinson 'should' have been rested at Adelaide. I remember discussion that he should have been rested at the SCG vs India last January, and wasn't - but not in relation to this summer... but happy to stand corrected.

Posted by TheDoctor394 on (January 14, 2013, 9:29 GMT)

"Informed Player Management." Sorry, I can't stop laughing over that one.

Posted by hycIass on (January 14, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

These are my points on this article. The rotation policy is a Cricket Australia directive which the NSP followed. I agree they shouldn't have selected 5 bowlers in Sydney. And I don't recall anyone on the NSP saying that Johnson was an allrounder, correct me if I am wrong on that please? They had 2 batsman in form ready to go(i.e Hughes and Khawaja) when Ponting retired and with Husseys unexpected retirement they still have Khawaja ready to go. How is that not forward thinking?

Posted by Meety on (January 14, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Top article. I think that the NSP made the right decisions taht have been highlighted here. It also needs to be mentioned, that according to their strategy at the start of the Test season, they were going to rotate young pacers between experienced campaigners. So they were always going to cop some criticsm. It is interesting that ultimately NOT heeding their own advice, POSSIBLY cost Oz the Test in Adelaide against the Saffas, as Patto was supposed to be rested. The Nsp couldn't rest Patto as he was the best bowler at the Gabba. So when the same thing occured after Hobart, it was a case of once bitten - twice shy.

Posted by HowdyRowdy on (January 14, 2013, 8:12 GMT)

I had thought that Inverarity's apparent openness and willingness to communicate was a welcome change from the utter opaqueness of Hilditch.

It now seems that Inverarity has not been as open as we were led to believe. While there may be good reasons for not being forthcoming about all the specifics of an injury, it would have been better to have made it clear right from the start that this policy was being followed.

Also, if Starc seriously risked exacerbating an injury by playing in an ODI, you really have to start thinking about how he will stand up to the rigours

Posted by hyclass on (January 14, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

Does anyone else see the ridiculous irony in Inverarity's comment,'We'd rather take the heat than the players?' in an article about dissatisfaction with media and public perception and right next to an article where the morose Arthur complains about the media for the same thing. My sympathies are entirely with the public, the media and the players. CA is just a different version of the same PR driven, evidence avoiding shambles that it was before Argus. Any credit for small successes is down to the players alone. No wonder Micheal Clarke doesn't forsee a long career in this environment.

Posted by hyclass on (January 14, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

Player management-you're kidding right.PR management sounds closer to the mark. The selection of the second ODI side uses the Test rationale for a ODI game.I call that,'Twisting facts to fit theories rather than theories to fit facts.' Its their own fault for screwing the Shield season just to get BBL in during the prime Christmas viewing period.There has never been greater selection uncertainty at 1st class level in the entire history of Shield. Just like so much of the political correctness that depletes the intelligence and energy of this generation, the theorists have taken hold over the pragmatists. I recall Andrew MacDonald voicing the concern of all Shield players at not knowing what parameters were being used for selection.There isnt even any proof that their policies work because no-one without an agenda seems to monitor the outcomes.The Test and ODI set up is awash with injuries and imagining that any eleven players will do when facing an International team visits is shameful

Posted by Chris_Howard on (January 14, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

Yet, Starc's reaction to being left out of the Boxing Day Test, suggested even he didn't know the full reason.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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