West Indies in England 2012 May 29, 2012

Strauss hints at fast-bowling rotation

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England will consider resting some of their frontline pace attack for the final Test against West Indies having wrapped up the series with victory at Trent Bridge. With an eye to the amount of cricket to come Andrew Strauss did not rule out giving James Anderson or Stuart Broad the match off at Edgbaston next week.

It was revealed that Anderson had been carrying a minor thigh niggle during the second Test which could make him favourite for some downtime although Broad, who is Twenty20 captain, plays all three formats so finding a space in the calendar to withdraw him for a short period is difficult. Anderson has bowled 111 overs in the first two Tests, Broad 102 and Tim Bresnan 100.

Following the conclusion of the Tests against West Indies there is a three-match one-day series and a Twenty20 before Australia arrive for five further ODIs; a controversial series given that the marquee clash of the summer, the Tests against South Africa, has been cut to three matches. Those three Tests will be high intensity, high pressure, affairs where England will need their main attack available.

"We'll definitely think about changes," Strauss said. "We've always viewed resting and rotating as something you have to do on a case-by-case basis so we'll speak to the seamers, see how they're feeling and see how we're looking for the rest of the summer.

"You always have to look quite a long way ahead when it comes to potentially resting someone. It's always a balance to strike because primarily you want to win every Test you play: that's the starting point. We'll have a conversation about it in the coming days."

Resting frontline bowlers who are near the top of the world rankings - Anderson is third and Broad is sixth, having dropped three places after this latest Test - will bring debate about whether it is devaluing Test cricket, but Strauss and Andy Flower will have more than one eye on the schedule over the next 18 months which includes tours to India and New Zealand and back-to-back Ashes series.

It is not as though England do not have strong reserves waiting in the wings. Steven Finn has expressed his frustration at remaining on the sidelines after a brief return to the team against Sri Lanka in Colombo. He currently sits on 13 Tests, which have brought him a productive 53 wickets, and his returns in one-day cricket over the winter were hugely impressive.

Graham Onions from Durham has been the other pace bowler in the squads for this series. He hasn't played for England since January 2009 against South Africa in Cape Town - where he survived the final over to secure a draw for the second time in three matches - after which he suffered a career-threatening back injury. Consistent performances for Durham put him back in the frame and he has been around a number of squads over the last six months.

"It's a difficult situation and I certainly wouldn't want to nail my colours to the mast one way or the other," Strauss said. "At this stage we have to sit down, think it through rationally and decide what the best course of action is, both for the Test match and for the long-term prospects of the team over the summer."

England have set the precedent for resting key players from series. Strauss himself sat out the tour to Bangladesh in early 2010 along with Anderson while in the return contest a few months later on English soil Broad and Paul Collingwood were left out.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AKS286 on June 1, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @JG compton is not a opening batsman. read my comments twice. suppiah century against india is the tremendous.domestic perfrmance is totally different from your style. if you consider form then root, carberry are ahead of compton.

  • JG2704 on June 1, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    @AKS286 on (May 31 2012, 17:08 PM GMT) So do you think Suppiah would score 100s in the last 2 tests (presuming you're putting him in ahead of Strauss) - It is a whole different game even against the WI attack. Surely Nick is a much better bet on current form

  • jmcilhinney on June 1, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael on (May 31 2012, 17:15 PM GMT), if they had rested them from the start of the series then I could see that but given that the series is already won, I think any reasonable person would see it for what it is: conserving resources. I don't think anyone really believes that Broad or Anderson really need rest right now but it makes sense to give them a break now while the opportunity is there so that they have more in the tank for when it's really needed later. Yes, they could be rested during what I see as a pointless ODI series against Australia but if the team is not going to take that series seriously then it just becomes a complete joke. It's already a waste of time that would have been better off used for an extra Test against SA or letting WI start their tour later.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on May 31, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Resting players like this could be construed as disrespectful to the West Indies

  • AKS286 on May 31, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    @JG2704 suppiah is an opening batsman and mentally strong his footwork is better than compton. but jimmy adams is my second option.

  • jmcilhinney on May 31, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @Front_Foot_Lunge on (May 31 2012, 09:50 AM GMT), given that you turned up soon after jonesytoo and Randy0Z, I'm guessing that you're Australian. Haven't the Australian selectors stated openly that they intend to use a rotation policy when it comes to fast bowlers? If you want to understand the logic then maybe you should speak to them. That said, if you don't understand the logic without having it explained to you then there's probably not much point asking anyone because you probably won't understand the explanation.

  • Front_Foot_Lunge on May 31, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    This moves goes to show that Strauss is losing his marbles as a captain. Why rest your best bowlers? So that the game will go to 5 days and he can bat twice. What a selfish player.

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Personally I'm not against resting these players. I feel that there are good arguments for and against , but in Finn and Onions it's not like we are bringing in 2 players who are just here to make up the numbers. Many feel Finn should be in anyway. I know I bang on about this all the time but could this test not be an ideal time to try out a 5 man bowling attack ? This would also lighten the workload on Jim/Broad without necessarily resting them.

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    @AKS286 on (May 29 2012, 11:17 AM GMT) Why would you play Suppiah over Compton?

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    @TFERGI on (May 29 2012, 10:55 AM GMT) TBH - it's the selectors choice. If you are not selected (whether injury/rested or dropped) you can't just turn up and demand to play

  • AKS286 on June 1, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @JG compton is not a opening batsman. read my comments twice. suppiah century against india is the tremendous.domestic perfrmance is totally different from your style. if you consider form then root, carberry are ahead of compton.

  • JG2704 on June 1, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    @AKS286 on (May 31 2012, 17:08 PM GMT) So do you think Suppiah would score 100s in the last 2 tests (presuming you're putting him in ahead of Strauss) - It is a whole different game even against the WI attack. Surely Nick is a much better bet on current form

  • jmcilhinney on June 1, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    @AdrianVanDenStael on (May 31 2012, 17:15 PM GMT), if they had rested them from the start of the series then I could see that but given that the series is already won, I think any reasonable person would see it for what it is: conserving resources. I don't think anyone really believes that Broad or Anderson really need rest right now but it makes sense to give them a break now while the opportunity is there so that they have more in the tank for when it's really needed later. Yes, they could be rested during what I see as a pointless ODI series against Australia but if the team is not going to take that series seriously then it just becomes a complete joke. It's already a waste of time that would have been better off used for an extra Test against SA or letting WI start their tour later.

  • AdrianVanDenStael on May 31, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    Resting players like this could be construed as disrespectful to the West Indies

  • AKS286 on May 31, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    @JG2704 suppiah is an opening batsman and mentally strong his footwork is better than compton. but jimmy adams is my second option.

  • jmcilhinney on May 31, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    @Front_Foot_Lunge on (May 31 2012, 09:50 AM GMT), given that you turned up soon after jonesytoo and Randy0Z, I'm guessing that you're Australian. Haven't the Australian selectors stated openly that they intend to use a rotation policy when it comes to fast bowlers? If you want to understand the logic then maybe you should speak to them. That said, if you don't understand the logic without having it explained to you then there's probably not much point asking anyone because you probably won't understand the explanation.

  • Front_Foot_Lunge on May 31, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    This moves goes to show that Strauss is losing his marbles as a captain. Why rest your best bowlers? So that the game will go to 5 days and he can bat twice. What a selfish player.

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Personally I'm not against resting these players. I feel that there are good arguments for and against , but in Finn and Onions it's not like we are bringing in 2 players who are just here to make up the numbers. Many feel Finn should be in anyway. I know I bang on about this all the time but could this test not be an ideal time to try out a 5 man bowling attack ? This would also lighten the workload on Jim/Broad without necessarily resting them.

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    @AKS286 on (May 29 2012, 11:17 AM GMT) Why would you play Suppiah over Compton?

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    @TFERGI on (May 29 2012, 10:55 AM GMT) TBH - it's the selectors choice. If you are not selected (whether injury/rested or dropped) you can't just turn up and demand to play

  • jaycee71 on May 30, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    rahulcricket007 (king of the CAPS LOCK) let's make sure India gets some rest too, we don't want to beat a half-fit Indian team (again)

  • RandyOZ on May 30, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    They don't really have many fast bowlers to rotate with though. Andersen is on fire at the moment swinging it both ways, but no one else has any pace or swing, apart from Finn who occasionally touches 145kph. Not even mentioning the lack of spin problems, it could be a torrid year for the United XI.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 30, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    @Qdzy, Chris Tremlett - Injured and unavailable...Ben Stokes : Not ready..... Craig Keiswetter - Somersett may block it as they ar short on players...Joe Denly : not heard of him.... Liam Plunkett : Not even on the Radar for a place above Finn, Onions, Tremlett, Meaker, Dernbach for a test call.

  • on May 30, 2012, 3:58 GMT

    Yorkshirematt, No one is saying any of the top 3 need a rest. But SA is the real match-up and given that injuries occur, England need five pacemen "tuned up" and ready. Finn & Tremlett are obviously the other 2. Finn is fit and raring to go so might as well that Jimmy's thigh niggle gets a rest. Finn fans think he bowls better than Broad or Bresnan so time to test that out against WI. Tremlett is still not fit so might play in the ODIs to get him tuned up. The world championship of cricket is to be played from July and the challengers are a very strong side so England need their best attack. The WI top 4 won't even last against a county side so why not try out a few new options?

  • rahulcricket007 on May 30, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    MAKE SURE THEY GETS SOME REST ENOUGH FOR THE INDIAN TOUR LATER , IT WILL NOT BE LIKE THE LAST TIME WHEN BROAD WAS INJURED JUST BEFORE ODI TOUR TO INDIA OR ANDERSON GETTING REST FOR INDIAN TOUR . WE DON'T WANT TO BEAT A HALF FIT ENGLISH SIDE .

  • on May 30, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Some one should do a study. Whenever a player is forcibly "rested", does he perform better upon return as compared when he continues to play. I really would like to know Anderson and Broad perspective. Do they want to be "Rested"?

  • maddy20 on May 30, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    A wise choice by England. With the SA tour coming up, they need their best bowlers fresh and 100% fit , if they are to challenge the formidable SA batting lineup. The last thing they want is either of Anderson or Broad pull a niggle or worse, hamstring. I do not understand why some of the English fans are complaining!

  • landl47 on May 29, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    I wouldn't rest them unless the back-ups were of top-class. As it happens, they are. Finn really should be in the side anyway, especially against SA. Onions has a style ideal for bowling against the WI. They'll do a good job. Where I have a real problem is this totally meaningless (apart from the money it brings in) series against Australia. To think that without that bunch of pointless ODIs we could have had two more tests against SA is sickening.

  • TheMeanMachine on May 29, 2012, 20:54 GMT

    Resting two young bowlers doesnt make any sense to me at all. The SL series got over 2 months ago and they have only played 2 tests in 2 months and none of them played in the IPL. If Anderson has a niggle then its feasible that he sits out and tends to his injury while Finn gets a chance. In any case in a short test series against the Proteas (3 test matches), you dont need a lot of reserve fast bowlers.

  • Selassie-I on May 29, 2012, 16:32 GMT

    there is a big argument for resting both jim and broad, especially broad for me as he's going to be playing all forms. It would be nice to give finna and onions a whirl to be up to match standard in case they are called upon against the saffers. Although Jimmy shouldn't need time off to be honest, but i'd rather be safe than sorry if he's got a niggle. but then again... maybe we should go with the same team again and keep continuity, i await the andy's decision.

  • anilkp on May 29, 2012, 14:35 GMT

    @Tfergi: Yup, buddy. We can say that these players must stay the hunhriest to grab any chunk of wicket/run anytime. We can say that because we live in airconditioned living rooms to enjoy a 5-day game, while these people toil in the sun and cold, rain and wind. Fair enough, and if one chose to toil, he should keep toilling--no matter what. Right?

  • Yevghenny on May 29, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    agreed on resting during the ODI's - why would they need to rest for a test match? They've just had 5 weeks off!

  • wnwn on May 29, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Rest both of them and play Finn and Onions. The WI batsmen shouldn't put up much resistance and this will help to create strength in depth.

  • on May 29, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    very good decision bro.give rest,rock against SA

  • Qdzy on May 29, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    The best bowling English attack does not stand a chance against the Proteas, GSmith:APetersen:HAmla:JKallis:ABDevilliers:Boucher:JPDuminy can easily and consistently put 450 on the board. And if we are going to talk bowling Delange:Steyn:Philander:Morkel:Tahir. What a line-up, this is a very strong side.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    I take back what I said about England losing the #1 ranking if they lose the third Test. I thought I'd calculated previously that that would be the case but they would indeed have a higher rating than SA even after a loss, although it would be by less than 0.02. I'm sure that they'd like to finish off on a high though and resting their two premier bowlers would probably just be a bigger risk than the generally conservative England team/management would be prepared to take. While the winner of the England SA series will end up #1 regardless, a 3-0 win against WI will see England go into the SA series with a rating 2 higher than SA, which would be a nice psychological edge. It also means that a drawn series would leave England clear on top.

  • whatawicket on May 29, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    if they are carrying a niggle fair enough.but if fit same team as previous tests. if they had got the points that they should have got during the winter then perhaps they could have done that.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 29, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    They should only rest if they think there is someone better equipped for the job. The time for a break is obvoiously in the limited overs period, especially v Aus which is really silly overkill series.

  • yorkshirematt on May 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Rubbish. these are test match bowlers at the height of their career. Why would they need or want a rest. A test match is a test match, and all are of the highest importance even if they are so called "dead rubbers" (of which I believe there is no such thing. England as the number 1 side should also want to win every test they play an wrap this series up 3-0 to send a message to the south africans. Call me old fashioned but if there are test wickets up for grabs bowlers should demand to play, not be put on some "rest and rehabilitation" scheme. The time for that,as has been pointed ot, is during the one dayers in June and early July.

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 29, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    A rest?? And only bowling 70-80mph?? I can hear Fred turning in his grave... Esp with Bresnan's comment about himself being fit, because he has bowled 100 overs! Fred's comment was always something like.. over 1000 overs a season, and that was just for Yorkshire! Gawd bless'im. ''Ah'll Sithee''

  • SDHM on May 29, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    I disagree about resting Broad, unless he's genuinely struggling with another injury - he's only just come back from injury and has looked out of rhythm, and consequently down on pace. The 10 wicket haul in the first Test masks it somewhat, but he's barely scraping 80mph at times. Broad is it his best snaking the ball away from right handers at 90mph, and he needs more overs in his legs to get back to that point. Anderson, if he has a niggle, should be rested, but after the bowling attack's aimless performance without him at Lord's against Sri Lanka last year, he should play if fit. If there's any time to be rested, make it the ODIs against Australia and keep them playing the odd game of county cricket. I wouldn't be taking liberties.

  • DustyBin on May 29, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Wrong Mr McGlashan-Onions definitely played after Jan 2009. I saw him take 2 in 2 -v- Australia @ Edgbaston in July or August of 2009. I say rest the frontline 3 for the Aus. ODIs too-who cares if we lose those? If Finn is picked next week & takes 10 how do you justify "rotating" him in the next (South African) test?

  • on May 29, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Rest BOTH of them. Both were severely down on pace in this last test, and it's not as if England don't have more than adequate back up in the form of Finn and Onions. Also it would be good to see how the team manages without the two main men. I reckon it will do just fine, so rest them up and get them bk to close to 90mph where they should be.

  • Qdzy on May 29, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    And Chris Tremlett ? Ben Stoakes, Craig Keiswetter, Joe Denly, Liam Plunkett ?

  • on May 29, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Resting frontline bowlers who are near the top of the world rankings

  • on May 29, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    There's a really strong case for resting Broad and Anderson. And I'd love to see Onions and Finn being given a crack. Personally I think both are better bowlers than Broad. But truly these are great days for English fast bowlers.

  • AKS286 on May 29, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    batsmen too, for a team like WI it is good for young players for international exposure. Strauss, suppiah, kp, taylor, bairstow, kiesweitter,yardy/clarke, bresnan, tredwell, onion, finn. don't worry team team will definitely beat WI dominantly.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    This is a tricky one. If Anderson is carrying a minor injury then there's certainly a case for resting him as the last thing they need is his breaking down against SA. They do have a longer layoff before the third WI Test though, so that may be enough for him. As Broad is tending to be a bit injury-prone they definitely need to find some down time for him, so if not this Test then definitely during the ODIs against WI and/or Aust. Unfortunately you lose a bit of batting by resting Broad though, which is probably more important in the shorter forms. In different circumstances it might be tempting to rest both Anderson and Broad to get a proper look at both Finn and Onions. The last thing England want is to wind up losing the third Test though, as that would mean they lose the #1 ranking and hand a psychological boost to SA.

  • TFERGI on May 29, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    Rubbish - These guys should be desparate to play and grab some more wickets to move up the all time lists. Anderson must have eyes on Beefys all time England record of 370 odd!!

  • SettingSun on May 29, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Why not rest them for the pointless ODIs against Australia? Those matches are completely meaningless and would be best used for squad rotation. Broad and Anderson should not need test match time off, it's not as if they've played tons of cricket in the last two or three months.

  • Tigg on May 29, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Rest both. If Jimmy has a niggle he should be rested (we'll need him firing against South Africa) and Broad will play throughout the ODIs and T20s so could use a break. Onions has been in tremendous form this season and can replace Jimmy as the pitch it up and swing it bowler with Finn for Broad bringing his height and pace..

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  • Tigg on May 29, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Rest both. If Jimmy has a niggle he should be rested (we'll need him firing against South Africa) and Broad will play throughout the ODIs and T20s so could use a break. Onions has been in tremendous form this season and can replace Jimmy as the pitch it up and swing it bowler with Finn for Broad bringing his height and pace..

  • SettingSun on May 29, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    Why not rest them for the pointless ODIs against Australia? Those matches are completely meaningless and would be best used for squad rotation. Broad and Anderson should not need test match time off, it's not as if they've played tons of cricket in the last two or three months.

  • TFERGI on May 29, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    Rubbish - These guys should be desparate to play and grab some more wickets to move up the all time lists. Anderson must have eyes on Beefys all time England record of 370 odd!!

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    This is a tricky one. If Anderson is carrying a minor injury then there's certainly a case for resting him as the last thing they need is his breaking down against SA. They do have a longer layoff before the third WI Test though, so that may be enough for him. As Broad is tending to be a bit injury-prone they definitely need to find some down time for him, so if not this Test then definitely during the ODIs against WI and/or Aust. Unfortunately you lose a bit of batting by resting Broad though, which is probably more important in the shorter forms. In different circumstances it might be tempting to rest both Anderson and Broad to get a proper look at both Finn and Onions. The last thing England want is to wind up losing the third Test though, as that would mean they lose the #1 ranking and hand a psychological boost to SA.

  • AKS286 on May 29, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    batsmen too, for a team like WI it is good for young players for international exposure. Strauss, suppiah, kp, taylor, bairstow, kiesweitter,yardy/clarke, bresnan, tredwell, onion, finn. don't worry team team will definitely beat WI dominantly.

  • on May 29, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    There's a really strong case for resting Broad and Anderson. And I'd love to see Onions and Finn being given a crack. Personally I think both are better bowlers than Broad. But truly these are great days for English fast bowlers.

  • on May 29, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Resting frontline bowlers who are near the top of the world rankings

  • Qdzy on May 29, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    And Chris Tremlett ? Ben Stoakes, Craig Keiswetter, Joe Denly, Liam Plunkett ?

  • on May 29, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Rest BOTH of them. Both were severely down on pace in this last test, and it's not as if England don't have more than adequate back up in the form of Finn and Onions. Also it would be good to see how the team manages without the two main men. I reckon it will do just fine, so rest them up and get them bk to close to 90mph where they should be.

  • DustyBin on May 29, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Wrong Mr McGlashan-Onions definitely played after Jan 2009. I saw him take 2 in 2 -v- Australia @ Edgbaston in July or August of 2009. I say rest the frontline 3 for the Aus. ODIs too-who cares if we lose those? If Finn is picked next week & takes 10 how do you justify "rotating" him in the next (South African) test?