Anderson and Collingwood handed rest
England team director Andy Flower has indicated that the move to rest Paul Collingwood and James Anderson for various stages of the one-day series against Australia is part of a broader move towards a rotation policy. Collingwood will be rested until the final ODI at Chester-le-Street, while Anderson will miss the next two games as England attempt to manage their workload issues ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Collingwood and Anderson have appeared in every single England fixture across three formats since early February, and will finally get a chance to recharge their batteries after being told they can sit out of Saturday's match at Lord's - a potential series decider. The move, Flower said, might provoke discontent in some quarters, but was necessary to allow players to recuperate in an increasingly crowded international fixture list.
"With the schedules we have to, otherwise we will burn out," Flower said. "We see these guys in the dressing room every day and we make the judgment on who needs the rest and who doesn't."
Collingwood, who is currently seeking a release from his Delhi Daredevils contract for next month's Champions League in India, will miss Saturdy's match at Lord's and the double-header in Nottingham next week. Anderson will return for the second Trent Bridge match.
"It is difficult, but that's just the way the schedule is at the minute," Anderson told Cricinfo last week, when asked about the players' current workload. "Wherever we go in the world, each series is pretty much back-to-back and we don't get much rest in between.
"Ideally we'd have wanted a few more days after the Ashes to let things settle down and let people's bodies recover, but it just wasn't to be. It's just something we have to try and get used to."
Although England are 3-0 down in the seven-match series and need a victory on Saturday to have any chance of winning the series, it was decided that the strain of such a heavy schedule in the aftermath of the Ashes triumph has taken its toll on the duo, especially with the Champions Trophy in South Africa looming large on the horizon.
Australia have employed a resting policy during crowded sections of the cricketing calendar for more than five years. The latest beneficiary was Ricky Ponting, who on Friday declared himself refreshed and motivated after briefly returning home during Australia's match against Scotland, the two Twenty20 matches in Manchester and the first three games of the ODI series against England. He will make his return at Lord's on Saturday.
"Collingwood and Anderson going out is just a sign of where international cricket is at," Ponting said. "The Champions Trophy is just around the corner and England have got a big Test series against South Africa just after that. You've got to pick the right moments to be able to give guys a break here and there. For England, it's a big game for them tomorrow so it's a big decision for them to leave Collingwood and Anderson out, but that's what you have to do sometimes when you're playing as much international cricket as we are these days."