England v West Indies, 3rd Test, Edgbaston

Flower defends England rotation policy

George Dobell

June 5, 2012

Comments: 84 | Text size: A | A

James Anderson finally picked up a wicket when he bowled Denesh Ramdin, England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 4th day, May 20, 2012
Andy Flower said resting James Anderson would be beneficial in the long term for the England fast bowler © Getty Images

It was telling that, not for the first time in this series, it was a man who was conspicuous by his absence who dominated the pre-Test discussion at Edgbaston. Speaking about England's decision to rest James Anderson from the final Test against West Indies, Andy Flower defended the rotation policy, saying that the demanding fixture list meant it would be "crazy and naive" to think England could utilise just three fast bowlers - Anderson, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan - over the next couple of years.

The move has provoked a varied response. While some have understood that it is simply a sign of the times and more a reflection of England's hectic schedule than any slight on Anderson or the ticket-buying public of Birmingham, others have reacted as if it were an early sign of the breakdown of law, order and civilization. For example, Ian Botham, the former England allrounder and captain, wrote in his Mirror column that the decision was "complete madness" and "an insult to the English public who pay their money to go and watch the best players in the land represent them on the field".

Either way, it is a measure of the sensitivity of the subject that Flower, the England coach, took it upon himself to come and speak to a section of the media and provide an in-depth explanation of the rationale behind the decision. Flower, while at pains not to be seen to criticise officials at the ECB who have agreed the playing schedule, called the itinerary "incredibly heavy". He also reminded supporters that rotation was not a new thing - Andrew Strauss, the captain, was rested from a tour of Bangladesh in 2010 - and, while Flower declined to answer any questions about Kevin Pietersen, he did admit that the prospect of players choosing to specialise was an "ongoing issue with the schedules that we're being asked to undertake".

"We came into this series with one goal and that was to win the series," Flower said. "We've achieved that goal so our priorities do shift. I'm not intending to demean the importance of this Test but, since we won the series already, our priority on the Test front does now shift to the South Africa series. There is also a slight shift to the West Indies one-day series because that series stands at 0-0. We haven't won that series, we've won this one. Part of our decision making is based around those reasons.

"If it had been 1-1 going into this third Test, Jimmy would have played. He is not badly injured and he could play this Test if we wanted him to. But it's 2-0 and we've won the series already.

"The second point I would make is that the days of us playing our players until they are either worn down significantly, or snap physically or mentally, are over. We think it our responsibility to manage things better than that. It is our duty to make decisions in their interests and the interests of the team. In the past we tended to play the fast bowlers until they were either bowling so poorly we had to leave them out, or they break down. And that doesn't make sense to us.

"Would you enter your prize horse in every race through the year? You wouldn't. You would target the races you want to win. We've won this race already. Would you play your most valuable pitcher in every single game in a baseball season? No you wouldn't. In fact, you don't even see them play full games. You pull them out of games because physically it makes sense to do so. Eventually their shoulder or their elbow would go. Does Wayne Rooney play every game for Manchester United? No, he doesn't because he would break down if he tried to do so. The schedule is really busy, and that's why we have to make these decisions. It would be ridiculous if we expected our fast bowlers to play in every single game.

"These types of decisions are made for the good of the team but also they will extend the careers of bowlers like Anderson. Actually I think it's beneficial to him. I understand the reasons why he is disappointed but it is beneficial to him in the long run.

Graham Onions practises in the nets, Edgbaston, June 5, 2012
Graham Onions is one of the players who could come into the England side at Edgbaston © Getty Images

"My third point is we have to try to and grow our pool of fast bowlers that are available to the England side. You would have seen through the Ashes in Australia that it wasn't the same attack that was used throughout that series. When we left Steven Finn out and when Stuart Broad was injured, the guys who came in excelled. Over the next couple of years the schedule is incredibly heavy. It is not only going to be Anderson, Broad and Bresnan who are going to be our bowlers over the next couple of years. It would be crazy and naive to think so. We are going to use other fast bowlers. It is part of growing our pool of fast bowlers.

"My fourth point is the possible replacement or replacements we use in this Test match are fine bowlers in their own right who have already performed very successfully in Test matches in England. I don't see it as devaluing this Test, I see it as a really exciting opportunity for us and for those watching the game. We are making this decision in the best interests of English cricket. We are not trying to overcomplicate, or devalue the game in any way. I perfectly understand why James Anderson is disappointed to be left out and I would be surprised if he felt any different. He is hungry to play. That's okay.

"He will be using this time to get his body in as good order as possible. He is carrying a couple of niggles and this is a chance to get rid of them. If it was 1-1 he would be playing, but it's not. We make decisions that make us stronger in the medium to long-term. Those are the reasons why we've made those decisions. Some people will disagree with them and that's fair enough. But I hope you can understand the logic behind those decisions."

Flower admitted that Broad may also be left out of the final XI "for similar reasons" and dismissed the idea that either he or Anderson would be selected with a view to improving their Test statistics. "We don't select people to get their Test tally up," Flower said. "We make decisions in the best interests of English cricket."

It was also noticeable that, in Anderson's absence, England spent some time in fielding drills with prospective new members of the slip cordon. Jonathan Trott, Steven Finn, Jonny Bairstow and Alastair Cook were among those who are not always in the cordon to be put through their paces.

Anderson's absence is unlikely to have much effect on last-minute ticket sales at Edgbaston. The weather forecast - grim, as ever this summer, it seems - may prove more relevant, though relatively high ticket prices will not have helped. Warwickshire, in their defence, would point out that various group discounts and 'kids for a quid' schemes were available.

They may also point out that ticket sales as not as poor as has been suggested in some quarters. As of Tuesday, Edgbaston had pre-sold 52,300 tickets for the Test. While fourth-day sales are poor - around 4,000 - the first three days are respectable (16,500, 14,800 and 17,000 respectively). Indeed, some grounds outside London would need to turn people away with those figures.

It is an important game for Warwickshire. Having invested heavily in redeveloping their stadium to an excellent standard - something they were encouraged to do by the ECB - they then missed out in the distribution deal and will not host an Ashes Test in 2013 or an India Test in 2014. While they will host some attractive limited-overs games - not least the final of the ICC Champions Trophy - they do not host another Test after this until 2015. With hefty loans to repay, they need to maximise revenues from this Test.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 8, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

@Meety - Re Broad , he is like alot of decent T20 bowlers in that he can have matches where he goes for around 5rpo and others where it's upped to 8 or 9. What I like about him is his bottle. He can have a bad over but will often come back stronger. Re Morgan , yes maybe I overlooked him. He's looked horribly out of nick recently (albeit mostly in tests) and I don't think he was once used by his IPL team. I do quite rate Bresnan in all formats. Actually I forgot about him when I mentioned about players who play all 3 fmts for England. I'd be interested to hear who you think is a better all rounder than Bresnan.

Posted by zenboomerang on (June 8, 2012, 9:42 GMT)

Cannot even see why rotation is an issue... Oz have been using a rotation policy for a while now & is part of CA policy... Rotating fast bowlers makes sense at many levels - keeping those close to being picked in some Test form; all fast bowlers have injury concerns at some point so having someone slot straight in, eases issues... I would have no problems with Bresnan/Broad batting at no.7 [my 2 favorite Eng players - no coincidence :) ] & adding Finn/Onions to the 11...

Posted by zenboomerang on (June 8, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

@wvlc... Agree on your Botham comments... Also think Jimmy has a greater fitness level than Botham ever got to, so am sure he has another 5 good years in front of him...

Posted by Meety on (June 8, 2012, 4:54 GMT)

@JG2704 - just on the 4 "backbone" players, I would drop Bresnan from that category & put Morgan in. He is one of the best T20 batsmen in the game.

Posted by Meety on (June 8, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

@JG2704 - maybe I understated Broad's T20 credentials. I HAD been of the opinion that England's success in T20s were bowler led, however, apart from Swann, Dernbach & Sidebottom are the only statistically par or better bowlers in that format. So I actually now think that England's success has primarily been due to the batsmen with KP & Morgan the main credits. So I was surprised that only Swann's T20 stats are what I consider top class, with Broad's stats somewhere in the rest. I commented on an article about the Talisman Bresnan. I notice his FC, T20, List A & ODI stats are quite ordinary, at this stage I would pick quite a few other bowling allrounders in the Eng T20 side BEFORE Bresnan, (am not knocking his consderable achievements). LOL re: scrapping T20s now that KP has retired! As an Ozzy, he is the ONE Eng player that I have felt that no matter how well we played, if he is in form, he could/would destroy us. (Emphasis on no matter how well we played!).

Posted by JG2704 on (June 7, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

@Meety - I think one thing we differ on is that you say Broad is a reasonably good T20 player whereas I would say he is an excellent T20 player. Even though we are currently 1 in that format I feel we have 3 or 4 players who have been the backbone to that side and we have lost one of them. So I'd say Broad,Swann and Bresnan and I think all 3 are harder to replace in the ODI/T20 fmts than in the test arena so personally I'd prefer them to rest Broad for the odd test and bring in Finn or Onions as I don't feel we would be losing so much quality compared to replacing him in shorter forms. In fact , now I look at our T20/ODI sides without KP - I think those formats are meaningless and should be scrapped

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (June 7, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

The Australian ODI series is part of a bi-lateral agreement with CA, in exchange for ODI's this summer in England, England get am ODI series ahead of the WC in 2015, which is designed to allow the england players more preperation time in Aussie conditions. I agree i would rather have had a 4th Test against SA than this series.

Posted by Meety on (June 7, 2012, 1:24 GMT)

@JG2704 - re: meaningless - LOL! You are allowed to change your mind if England lose!!!! My arguement is only in relevance. I love ODIs way more than T20s & couldn't care less if they (T20s) were only payed at Franchise level. IF, bilateral ODIs were cut out of the FTP, players would NOT have much of a leg to stand on with the issue of burn out. IF I was running the ICC (with their pay packet too!), I would instead have some short tri-laterals with an Associate team & two test nations. I'd replace the Oz 5-match series with Oz, Eng & Ire, play each other once & have a final (4 games all up). I admit it would be a box-office flop if Ire knocked Eng (or OZ for that matter) out, but it has in my view far more context than 5 bi-lateral matches, does some good for the 2nd tier of cricket.

Posted by Meety on (June 7, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

@landl47 - re: ODI correlation to Tests. A point of clarification from me, I am NOT referring to the results, I actually am not overly concerned whether Oz win or not (want them too win to stay at the top though), your CORRECT arguement that you have put fwd is on the basis of results. I beleive prior to the 05 Ashes Eng lost the ODIs, HOWEVER, they showed their hand pretty early on, & that INTENT & EXECUTION, by & large carried them thru to win the Tests. That is what I was referring to, hardly mentioned results, the important issues to me was WOULD there be any take outs from the series? You think not, I dunno (meaniing unsure either way, but it is more intriguing than the actual cricket IMO)!!!!!

Posted by Meety on (June 7, 2012, 1:10 GMT)

@JG2704 - re: Broad. I did say that, but it was prefaced with a view to the primacy of Tests & that Broad COULD be said to be injury prone. The bloke is only 24(ish?), so there is possibly 10 yrs of quality test cricket left in him. If Broad was to get injured (fingers crossed that doesn't happen), my theory is that it would be better he be injured from playing a Test than say a bilateral T20 (or for that matter a foreign T20 league). Broad is a reasonably good T20 player, & I think in isolation - his selection as captain of the T20 side was a good one on several fronts. I suppose it comes back to the fact I don't like rotation in tests. As I said previously, I understand why the ECB took their approach, but the reality is, it does devalue tests. Oz have had a fair few injuries to pace bowlers of late, but about 10yrs ago when the injuries weren't sp prolific, pace bowlers were rotated regularly in ODIs & pretty much NEVER in ODIs, I liked that, is that THE way to go? Up to opinion!

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (June 7, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

@EdwinD and jmcilhinney: I wouldn't complain too much about a bowling attack in this test of Finn, Bresnan, Broad and Swann, but if that comes to pass, Graham Onions would be wondering what the hell he has to do to get a chance. He's never let England down in my recollection, it's two and half years since his last test, he's bounced back from serious injury, and his form has been truly remarkable this year: 34 wickets in 5 county championship matches at an average of less than 13, better than Finn or any other eligible bowler. And yet even with this pre-announced decision to rest Anderson (irrespective of what one thinks about this), here we are talking as though Onions is still unlikely to play. It seems that form hardly seems to get considered in team selection these days at all.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 6, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

@SA_Scot on (June 06 2012, 08:08 AM GMT) Mate , I don't get bored of Broad and Anderson but It'd be good to see how Finn and Onions do in the same side. Keep posting , makes a change from the trash talking we've had from some of your fans on here.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 6, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

@jmcilhinney on (June 06 2012, 13:00 PM GMT) - Fair points well made , but now we're involved it could be an opportunity to gain some ranking points oh and re "it would take a period of consistently good performances from Finn to climb above Broad and Anderson in the estimation of the England selectors" - It could be that Broad or Anderson get injured and Finn comes in and does so well that he becomes undroppable.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 6, 2012, 21:08 GMT)

Giovaughn Wilson on (June 05 2012, 20:30 PM GMT) - You are a mischievious so and so. Seriously though , I don't think either CB would want to deliberately stop their players earning the easy bucks in IPL so long as their main priorities lie with their country. The Aus test players did IPL after they did their stuff for their country this year

Posted by JG2704 on (June 6, 2012, 20:51 GMT)

Giovaughn Wilson on (June 05 2012, 20:30 PM GMT) - You are a mischievious so and so. Seriously though , I don't think either CB would want to deliberately stop their players earning the easy bucks in IPL so long as their main priorities lie with their country. The Aus test players did IPL after they did their stuff for their country this year

Posted by richardror on (June 6, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

England have such a strong squad of bowlers, which people like Finn and Onions waiting for the chance. They would both walk into every other test team (except perhaps Onions and South Africa) so it will be 3-0 definitely. Bring on the ODIs then South Africa! Great summer to look forward to...

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (June 6, 2012, 16:35 GMT)

@jb633: I wouldn't argue dispute that Botham is out of touch with the modern game; it's rather ironic that it's now about 20 years since he was an England player, which gap is almost exactly the same as that between Ray Illingworth's last England test and his appointment as Chair of Selectors in 1994, an appointment Botham attacked for that very reason. However, I think it's easy to misunderstand where Botham is coming from with his argument. Botham's concern about what the 'paying public' gets, while misplaced in this case, is genuine, since he was one of those players who went most out of their way to entertain the crowd, not just in tests but in near-empty houses at Taunton. And remember in Botham's day England players were expected to play county cricket between test matches. His idea of a player 'resting' was taking a breather while they fetched a ball after he'd hit it out of the ground; he hit a record number of sixes in 1985. Agree with your point, but Botham was not 'lazy'

Posted by The_boundary_lurker on (June 6, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

In absolute agreement with Flower. He has to pay lip service to the "all Tests are important" ethos but clearly this Test is less important, so why not let your best bowler have a break? And at the same time have a look at one or two of your other options, given the heavy upcoming schedule and the possibility that one or more of the first choice quicks may break down over the summer?

England's greatest asset at the moment is their bowling attack and its strength in depth. South Africa's frontline quicks may arguably be better than England's (although I'm not too impressed by Morkel generally), but if they get injured, who's next in line? We've got Finn, Onions, and hopefully Tremlett if he gets back to fitness. Prioritising the important games and ensuring you have your best side available for them shows Flower's professionalism. Perhaps if Botham had demonstrated the same level of professionalism in his career, his long, embarassing decline may have been foreshortened.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 6, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

@ anonymous on (June 06 2012, 13:59 PM GMT), let's not forget that WI have lost Roach, so they're missing their best pace bowler too. They may add Narine, although that's not certain. It's just hard to know what impact he could have though. It's interesting that people talk about England being poor against spin when Narine's average and economy rate against Australia recently were both significantly better than Ajmal's against England in UAE, with his strike rate being marginally higher. That's for the ODIs only though. I doubt that Australia would have played as negatively against Narine if he'd played the Test matches as England did against Ajmal and co, but we'll never really know what he could have done on helpful pitches. The pitches in England won't be so helpful though.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 6, 2012, 15:21 GMT)

@EdwinD on (June 06 2012, 13:29 PM GMT), it would take a period of consistently good performances from Finn to climb above Broad and Anderson in the estimation of the England selectors. Given that it may have been touch and go between Bresnan and Finn for the third seamer spot in the first place though, if Finn out-performs Bresnan in the third Test then there might be questions again come the SA series, particularly if Finn does better in the ODIs in between too. It's a dilemma for the selectors no doubt but, at least with a national team, unlike a club or county team, you can be fairly sure that a player won't go off an play for someone else if they miss out.

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

Now the series already in the pocket, Its a fair Idea to rest Anderson and Give some other Chances.Yes West indies are improving side even in their defeats and resting World class bowler can narrow the gap between the Two sides even though England still having the edge

Posted by EdwinD on (June 6, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

Adding a point I should have made earlier - imo Finn is now a better bowler than Anderson - it's just that it's impossible to drop Anderson / Broad / Bresnan on form, balance and results.

It would be interesting though to see what happens if Finn takes a lot of wkts for not many (I expect him to take a few) - will he then get dropped against SA?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (June 6, 2012, 14:00 GMT)

@JG2704 on (June 06 2012, 10:26 AM GMT), I myself have called the ODI series against Australia pointless, but that doesn't mean that I think that it's meaningless. I don't think that ODI-only tours like this one and England's recent dalliance in India should exist at all. Some may say that that's because England lost badly in India but that's not the case at all. I'm all for ODIs being played as part of a full tour and if England gets walloped then I'll live with that. It really seems to me though that England arranged the WI tour and the SA tour and then found that they had 5 minutes spare in between and decided that they needed to fill it with a money-maker instead of utilising it in a way that would be best for cricket and the cricketers. Now that it's on though, they have to take it seriously. That's why I don't see that they can rest anyone significant during that series. ODIs are already under threat somewhat so if this series isn't respected it becomes a complete joke.

Posted by jb633 on (June 6, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Boring boring news. When will the cricketing public learn that Ian Botham is horribly out of touch with the modern game. Listening to his commentary can be painful at times. He disagrees with netting to start with. Just because he had the natural ability to be successful and lazy does not mean that practising is a waste of time. He really can be boring at times.

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (June 6, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

@wvlc: That's an interesting argument, but I feel the main reason Botham's bowling deteriorated prematurely was because of a failure to maintain physical fitness due to a combination of back problems and lifestyle. While ironically Anderson has had a history of different back problems (stress fractures), I don't see him as likely to deteriorate in the same way. I don't think you can quite compare Botham's and Anderson's careers, in respect of the amount of commitments Botham had with his county. In the 1985 season you mentioned, in addition to taking 30 odd wickets in tests against Australia. Botham also not only played regularly for Somerset, but was actually also Somerset's county captain; it's almost unheard of these days for a regular England player to be a county captain, because they are centrally contracted and made available for their counties so little. This is the chief grounds on which "resting" a player like Anderson make least sense; compared to Botham, he plays so little

Posted by JG2704 on (June 6, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

@Meety on (June 06 2012, 00:08 AM GMT) I just don't like the term meaningless - Less important would be a better term although I'm starting to wonder if I should have kept quiet as now I can't call them meaningless if we lose them all

Posted by UmpirezCall on (June 6, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

I think Botham is wrong (I often think Botham is wrong!). I see no problem in resting Jimmie Anderson for a few reasons. No offense to the WI team, but this match is less important than the upcoming ODI series or, more importantly, the test series against SA. With modern playing schedules, it's impossible to rely on only three bowlers for every match/series. Rotation is the way to go. The bowlers rotating in are all world class bowlers (Onions, Flynn, etc) but need time in the middle to hone their skills and maintain match fitness. We've been rotating players in Australia for a long time and guess what Sir Ian - it works!

Posted by jplterrors on (June 6, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@nigel yes there will be plenty of wickets in the Black caps v England series for CHRIS MARTIN when the Caps thrash the poms.

Posted by .BobMarley. on (June 6, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

Don't know what everyone is going on about. The third test will be a washout so everyone will be rested.

Posted by Stevros3 on (June 6, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

I have no problem with seeing the likes of Finn or Onions playing test cricket, they are both test standard players. What I do object to is the fact I'm paying more to see this test match at Edgbaston than I paid for India last year. That was a test match between the top two teams in the world at the time and Birmingham has a massive Indian population, so I was happy to pay a fairly high price. Also the 'Kids for a Quid' promotion Edgbaston did is now much reduced from last year, instead of running for all four days (I think, I know it was at least on Friday and Saturday). This year it's only on the Thursday (i.e. unless your kid is on holiday and not every school is off, you have to pay the £15 ticket price over the weekend)

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

I can not believe this is the major cricketing news in terms of duration that it has been going on for..! One player being rested for a test match... Is this as exciting as cricket gets...! Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of cricket, but this news has been dragging on and on and on and on!

Posted by JG2704 on (June 6, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

@Meety - PS , On another thread (where comms had just closed) you said about omitting Broad from the t20 side. That would be a huge no no for me.Now the stats might not back me up but Broad (now KP is out of it) would be my first pick for ODIs/T20s and while tests are undoubtedly more important , I do feel that Finn or Onions or (when fit) Tremlett would be able to come in and do a superb job, but despite the 6x6 in one over (before anyone else mentions it) from a few years ago , I feel that Broad is a huge ODI/T20 bowler for us and is harder to replace in this format than he is in tests and if I was given the choice of KP for tests or ODI/T20s I think I'd choose the latter , purely because I think KP is harder to replace in the shorter forms of the game. I'm wondering what Broad's stats in ODIs/T20s are in the last 18 months compared to his infancy period. I bet they've improved quite considerably

Posted by BifferSpice on (June 6, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

disappointed in botham - love the guy, generally, but on this he's wrong. resting anderson, and indeed broad, is the correct thing to do. south africa is the challenge. what would be the point in burning anderson out just before the most important series in a long time, just so he can play in a match in a series we've already won!? if we'd managed players like this previously, we might still have flintoff available to us

Posted by SA_Scot on (June 6, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

&all, Just adding my 100% agreement to those supporting this move. I'm actually an SA supporter, and want Anderson rested and ready for battle. The WI series is won, and the paying public would love to see how Onions and Finn are doing.

I personally love seeing a new SA bowlers show his stuff, or even if he is not new I love seeing another one of the squad doing well and showing his improvement. Are the English supporters much different from that? Surely it can get a little *boring* seeing the same bowlers day after day after day, even if they are successful. Bring on the backups guys man!

For Ian B to suggest the Public are being short-changed is just misleading and argumentative for the sake of it. Why oh Why does he constantly come up with *shoot from the hip* comments like this... it seems as if he is pandering to a section of the public that would rather just see a mindless action film than a thriller. He does irritate me. Kudos for his achievements, but dignity dude!

Posted by EdwinD on (June 6, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

Th rotation policy makes complete sense - maybe if Beefy had not played every game going in the early 80's bowling himself into the ground he might not have ended up with the back (amongst other) injuries that caused him to miss a large chuck of the internationals in the late 80's.....

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Team for 3rd Test :


Personally, I will like to see James Taylor of Notts in Bairstow's place to see what he is made of but he is not selected, as usual.

Posted by TheShawshankRedemption on (June 6, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

As far Anderson is concerned I guess he is one of the only 3 eligible quickies(Bresnan/Broad) for England who can be used in 50s and Test cricket. Flower is a visionary for English cricket and his record speaks for himself. When you want to pursuit to No.1 spot then rotation is mandatory else you could only be there for sometime...to become invincible rotation policy is required (Rotation is not just to rest your player but also to test the bench and its readiness/competence). "We make decisions that make us stronger in the medium to long-term. Those are the reasons why we've made those decisions." well defended by Flower. England would inevitably become No. 2 at the least after SA if rotation is followed. People who are against rotation policy just see whats the bench strength of fast bowlers England has: Onion/Tremlett/Finn/Woakes/Drenbach..How do you have these guys playing if Andersen, Broad, Bresnan is in final XI esp against underdogs.

Posted by dariuscorny on (June 6, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

@ segga-express may be we can see you flying there.....

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

I agree with @Venkat..Flower should save England's front line bowlers for future tour and World Cup ( which is still a dream)..Otherwise who know they may get whitewash when they come to India

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

No worries. England could win the Test with reserve bowlers like Finn, Onions. They too are good bets in English conditions....

Posted by venkatesh018 on (June 6, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

Absolutely valid points, Mr.Flower. You have no need to explain to people like Botham the merits of dropping Anderson. Your record as England coach speaks for itself. Now go a step further, drop Broad from the XI and play both Finn and Onions along with Bresnan.

Posted by landl47 on (June 6, 2012, 5:15 GMT)

@Meety: that's an interesting argument, but do you really think there's any correlation between ODIs and tests? Looking at the last 4 ODI series between England and Australia, England won (in a tri-lateral series also including NZ) after the 2006/7 Ashes series, in which they were whitewashed. Australia won easily in both 2009 and 2011 after losing in the Ashes series. When the teams played a comparable series to the forthcoming one back in 2010, England won 3-2 (with Australia taking the two dead rubber games). I can't see either side learning much from this series; if England beats Australia it won't spell the end of Aus's Ashes hopes and vice versa. I'm glad Aus is bringing Pattinson and Cummins and I hope they both play, because it's great to watch good young fast bowlers. I hope England give some of their young guns a game, too. Finn will certainly play, and I guess Dernbach (I'm not a big Dernbach fan), but I'd love to see someone like young Matt Coles get a game.

Posted by _nigel_ on (June 6, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

Jimmy needs a rest, hes been too good for the windies, and with the series sown up it is now the perfect time. He has the likes of the black caps coming up after the south african series. Wickets will be in bucket fulls against the blacks caps. Steve finn deserves a game as he is the future. The african series will be intense so the more rest he gets now the better. Mr Anderson will be back !!!

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 4:52 GMT)

A huge load of kerfuffle over nothing. It's not like England are rolling out the A-side (which they should, they'd probably still win), they're only resting one guy. If they'd just waited until the morning of the game and then claimed Anderson had a sore shin or whatever no one would have said anything about it. On the other hand, I think players get plenty of rest already. It's not like Anderson had to drive straight up to Lancs and play in a three day game the next day like he might have done in years gone by. When they say the schedule is full I think the biggest problem is all the travelling. Most international players play less games than every because they hardly ever turn out for their counties.

Posted by RandyOZ on (June 6, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

@Meety - i'd expect a whitewash in the ODI series, England are terrible at that format, just as they have been in test cricket lately. Looking forward to PhilHughes coming back. He's carving up the County scene right now (albeit far weaker than Shield Cricket).

Posted by RandyOZ on (June 6, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

The English bowlers need all the game time they can get, especially with Phil Hughes absolutely carving it up in the County system. I understand the County system is very weak, but it will get him into good form for the much more challenging Shield season this summer. He will be in the team by the end of the summer and will be ready to carve up against India and England next year.

Posted by HadleeCrowe on (June 6, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

completely sensible decision. What is beefy having a go at...typical rubbish just to sound opinionated???? I would father rather watch steve finn firing in rockets at 145km than Jimmy's swingers.... Can only be interesting for cricket watchers

Posted by SSRajan on (June 6, 2012, 4:16 GMT)

@segga-express and wibblewibble : It is OUR domestic season and OUR domestic tournament. So we schedule it whenever we want to. None of anyone else's business. If your players want to play the IPL, then good, if they don't want to play or can't play, too bad. Not our problem. For us it is our Indian players that play in the IPL that matter and it is we Indian audiences that sustain it. So if your guys have a problem with it, then you are most welcome to stay away from it.

Posted by simon_w on (June 6, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

I'd like to see both Finn and Onions get a game at Edgbaston, personally. Would make the Test more interesting for me, not less, especially given that the series is already won. I'm pleased that Jimmy is upset at being rested, and I've no doubt Broadie will/would be even less happy about it, but I don't think either need be worried that they won't start the first Test against SA, fitness permitting, and should really view this as a form of compliment. In the meantime, two excellent bowlers, who would probably make any other Test side in the world with the exception of SA (and even there they'd be in contention), get a chance to show us what they're made of. Win-win, for me -- the only negative is that Anderson and Broad won't get a chance to add more easy top-innings wickets to their resumés, and, as Flower said, decisions can't be made on that basis.

Posted by Kaare on (June 6, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

Whats the big deal??? When did resting key players from dead rubbers become so problematic?

Posted by Harry_Kool on (June 6, 2012, 2:57 GMT)

Nothing needs to be justified. He has led them to this lofty position & is entitled to go with the same formula that has worked to date. He wants his bowlers fully rested & while he has quality backups, he can do whatever he sees fit to give his team the best chance.

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

Relax English fans.....rotation is good now other bowlers will have a chance to play and get some experience. When C. Abrose and C. Walsh wanted to play-on and don't retire/rest the press forced them to retire because they wanted the Frankln Rose to play.

Posted by   on (June 6, 2012, 2:23 GMT)

@ wibble wibble -- but then it would clash with cricket season in Australia, South Africa & New Zealand Maybe ICC should give a 10 week window of between September and November for all domestic t20 leagues & let the chips fall where they may

Posted by segga-express on (June 6, 2012, 1:55 GMT)

@wibblewibble - Well said Sir! Whilst it is difficult to find a window that won't clash with someone's domestic season, it is disgraceful that a domestic league played for financial gain and little else has the arrogance to presume superiority over international commitments. I agree with Giovaughan's suggestion of scheduling high-profile series to clash with IPL and undermine its draw, but from cricketing sense (i.e. playing at the height of the season when play is most likely to be unaffected by weather) it is impractical. Perhaps India should play one of their infamous 7 match ODI series next April? Maybe a pig will fly.

Posted by Meety on (June 6, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

@JG2704 - I think the term "meaningless" in reference to ODIs is in relation to Tests. The fact is the Oz ODI series should rake in good money (so I ultimately understand the scheduling), however, all those who hold tests on a pedestal, would say a 4th Test v the Safricans would of been better. I love ODIs, but I really do not like bilateral series very much at all, & absolutely despise them when they aren't on either end of a Test series. Whilst I'd love Oz to win every single match of the series, the more important factors in the series is in relation to the Ashes, will Oz bowlers dent some confidence in the Eng batsmen? Will the Eng batsmen do the reverse? Will Ozzy batsmen gain some momentum against the Eng bowlers? These questions are IMO the most important things to come out of the series & it has almost nothing to do with the actual ODI series! LOL!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (June 5, 2012, 23:57 GMT)

I expect england to win this Test too, unless the weather really does its worst. I understand the idea of rotation and of course Flower puts the case admirably as one would expect. Finn and Onions are very good bowlers as are various others around like Tremlett. But Anderson is actually the best of the lot if for nothing more than his experience and knowledge. For this test I would play onions first- if it were Broad rested it would go the other way. Onions actually would be a very difficult proposition at Edgbaston I think. Re ODI's Gayle's return makesa big difference at least to WI morale. He is box office, and Bravo is useful too.

Posted by RodStark on (June 5, 2012, 23:40 GMT)

I think we should view this as simply that the England team does not just consist of eleven players. Much better if we have fifteen or so in the team, all of them getting a game once in a while.

Posted by wibblewibble on (June 5, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

@Giovaughn Wilson

Neither the ECB nor the WICB scheduled this contest to clash with the IPL - the IPL is scheduled to clash with the start of the English first class season, and the end of the West Indies first class season.

Perhaps the Indians should have chosen a different time to stage the IPL, like, ooh, I dunno, their first class season.

Posted by wvlc on (June 5, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

What Botham has neglected to point out is that the decline in his own career was vastly premature. He skipped England's difficult tour to India in 84/85, aged just 28 going on 29, because he was tired, when they could've really used him.

After that, a swansong of an Ashes in '85 (thanks to the rest?!), but he was a shadow of his former self thereafter, and basically bowled like a drain all the way through his 30s with barely a bowling performance of note after the Boxing day Test of '86 (at half pace), aged 31 and one month. Jimmy turns 30 next month, and England hopes he has another 200 Test wickets in him.

A more balanced piece of journalism from Sir Ian would have been to say, look - I was all washed up by the time I was 30, [having played 64 Tests in a row], maybe if I had been handled more sparingly I could have played more than five Tests between the end of Pakistan in '87 and their return in '92 (when he played twice, got no wickets and was dropped for good).

Posted by Ed_Lamb on (June 5, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

If Botham disagrees we know it's the right decision. I'd like to see Broad rested too given his relatively poor injury record.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 5, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

PS - I don't like using the term "meaningless" re either ODI series. While the tests are of greater importance , it would also be good to pick up ODI ranking points in an effort to climb that table. If (and I know it's a massive IF) we were to do well vs Australia then I'm guessing we'd be well rewarded as Australia are the best ODI side so more points would be upfor grabs than if we beat a lesser side.I still worry how we'll cope without KP.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

That is unless the ECB is so insecure and unsure of its number 1 status that it continually has to schedule series vs weaker opposition to give its players a confidence boost or whatever heading into the more keenly contested series?

Posted by   on (June 5, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

One would have thought that it would have been a smarter move to schedule the South Africa & Ashes series this year & next during the IPL. Both the Players from Australia and South Africa are in a better position to turn down the money on offer at the IPl. And even if they were not so inclined they would be under more pressure from board and media to do so than their West Indian and Kiwi counterparts. The contests are more likely to be of a higher quality than the series vs New Zealand & West Indies. Not only would that have England facing the opposition in colder & more unfamiliar conditions but that would have also have been a big blow to IPL as its success depends a great deal upon the foriegn based players like Kallis, Steyn, Morkel, Clarke, Harris etc. Players from the weaker boards need the money more than those from stronger boards like CSA & CA so debasing IPL is more likely to be successful if players from those boards are targeted.

Posted by JG2704 on (June 5, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

@Richard Bez Bezuidenhout on (June 05 2012, 18:14 PM GMT) There's no comparison. Jimmy has not asked for the time off. He has been omitted - simple as that

Posted by JG2704 on (June 5, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

Personally I wish Flower didn't say that he definitely would have played Jimmy if it was 1-1 as that does kind of make it sound that Finn and Onions are second rate. Other than that I feel all the points are valid. For me Botham's comms are untrue. I mean Finn and Onions are 2 quality bowlers , 1 of who many on here think deserves a regular spot in the side and the other has been the most consistent county bowler and might already be established in the side had it not been for injury. I still would love to hear someone press Flower on the possibility of playing 5 bowlers , making the points about the number 6 generally contributing little as a batsman, lightening the bowlers workloads so they are always more fresh and their spells are more intense and the fact that Prior-Swann we have a capable 6-9 already. Do we really need (on paper) to bat deeper?

Posted by Saffie1987 on (June 5, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

I'm actually quite fine with this decision! The less match practice, the better for South-Africa! Thank you Andy Flower!!!!

Posted by   on (June 5, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

The WiCB & ECB had already made the series an insult to the playing public by scheduling it during the IPL when West Indies would not be able to field their strongest possible team. Wicb and its coach / selectors have also created a rift between themselves and senior players not taking part in the Ipl refusing to selct them for the tour. that too was an insult to the paying public. The media and English fans should get off Flower's back & target the WICB / ECB as they are the real culprits. In fact ECB plans to do the exact same thing with New Zealand next year planning the series to clash with the IPl.

Posted by Ramski1 on (June 5, 2012, 21:06 GMT)

The air time the resting of Anderson is getting is farcical. WI are a poor side who were beaten by England Lions by ten wickets.

Englands job as Flower states is to win the series and then be in the best shape to face SA (the real test this summer).

As an England fan I am keen to see Finn and Onions in action.

Ticket sales have been poor because cricket fans are no mugs. As much as we want to see England win, we are paying to see great players from the abroad and a tough contest. West Indies provide neither of these things.

South Africa is a series with context, 2 top sides, Kallis, De Villers, Amla, Morkel, Stein, Philander. Its a mouth watering prospect.

Ian Botham, always makes me laugh, was it Duncan Fletcher who said, we listen to certain sections of the media (Botham) and then specifially do the opposite. Another good example.

Posted by MrPontingToYou on (June 5, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

botham's comment is foolish, and suggests that anderson is wayyyyyy better than finn and onions.. which clearly is'nt the case. not sure why fowler felt he owed anyone an explanation either, he does what he thinks is best for the team and thats the end of the story. thing is, finn and or onions would proberbly be more motivated to perform, since they are fighting for a first team spot, anderson and broad know their spots are guarenteed.

Posted by whoster on (June 5, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

I think it's a sensible decision. Ian Botham is my all-time cricketing hero, but talking about this decision as 'an insult to the paying public' is rubbish. England have a pool of fast bowlers that are the envy of world cricket, and Steve Finn and Graham Onions have already shown they're Test quality bowlers - and I'd happily pay money to watch those two if they're picked. Besides, with the series won, this is an ideal opportunity to rotate the team. Jimmy Anderson and Dale Steyn are the best fast bowlers in the world, but even with Anderson missing from this Test, it'll hardly make the England team any weaker. Besides, as Flower stated, this decision was made for the long-term benefit of the English cricket, and it's important that our squad of bowlers are given the chance to show their Test credentials, which will be important if injuries suddenly sideline a couple of bowlers in future. Flower and the selectors have done a great job in recent times, so let's show them trust.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

@sambudgie yes we were beat good and proper last week in the blazing sunshine at trent Bridge...short memory, I think

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (June 5, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

I think Flower has some points here but I don't entirely agree with him. I think he's right that the potential replacements are good bowlers and Onions in particular has two tenfers for Durham this season; with respect to Botham, one could say the 'paying public' deserves to see a bowler like this as much as Anderson. However, when Flower says 'Does Wayne Rooney play every game for Manchester United? No, he doesn't because he would break down if he tried to do so. The schedule is really busy...', that's just misleading. We're not talking about Anderson playing week-in, week-out for a club for the very reason that England have him under contract and stop him doing this. Anderson's schedule is not busy, and significantly less busy than England bowlers had 15 or 20 years ago. The point about the disruption this entails to the England slip cordon is also worth considering. Would one decide to rest Swann and then get another player from this squad to practice bowling spin as a replacement?

Posted by Narkovian on (June 5, 2012, 19:41 GMT)

Overworked bowlers.. my foot. County bowlers bowl about 10 times as much, no-one worries about them. Lcukily the replacements are good enough to knock over WI. Would it happen if it was an AUS and SA summer ? However the rotation that really ticks me off is the rotation of fielders on and off the field during a day's play. Bowl 6 overs and need a lie down ! There's more to-ing and fro-ing than.... well I'd better not say ! Easy to stop, its against the rules. So why don't umpires stop it.?

Posted by jackthelad on (June 5, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

The decision was obvious and perfectly sound. It is the business of the England Management to think rather further than seven days ahead; it is the business of Team England to develop a world-class squad of at least 15 players of high Test quality with substantial Test experience. This joint strategy has been the basis for England's rise to its current cricketing position. It's a sad sign of how certain sections of the media manipulate public opinion that Flower has even felt it necessary to explain such a patently correct long-term programme.

Posted by skepticaloptimist on (June 5, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

No need to defend it. It's a positive move and that will only strengthen the already-strong English bowling line-up. Good chance to test their bench. It will be pretty nice to get Finn a go; his action is very smooth and especially impressive for pace and movement.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (June 5, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

why to make so much fuss about this decision, series is already won by england and it's time to give chance to other bowlers too.

Posted by   on (June 5, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

Just a question, do I as a mere mortal go to my employer and say I am 'overworked' and need to have a few days off?

Posted by KiwiPom on (June 5, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

This is an absolute no brainer. I support this selection all the way for all the same reasons.

Posted by HebrideanBlack on (June 5, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

Does any one think that resting Jimmy and Broad would actually make this a more even contest, which could even go to the fifth day and maybe be better for ticket sales and the spectators. (because it would be a more exciting test) Just putting it out there.

Posted by Vibhormbic on (June 5, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

Why does he keep talking about 2-0 and 1-1 only? Would Jimmy have played had it been 1-0?

Posted by landl47 on (June 5, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

It's a sensible decision and personally I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if they chose to leave out Broad as well. Both Finn and Onions have been bowling very well this season and are going to be more than a handful for the WI side. Incidentally, if any confirmation were needed that this is the right decision, the fact that Ian Botham is against it makes it certain. He's about as clueless on tactics and strategy as it's possible to be. A great natural cricketer, but thinking was always the weakest part of his game. Flower, on the other hand, has considerable vision and sees the bigger picture.

Posted by Vindaliew on (June 5, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

How can he say that "I'm not intending to demean the importance of this Test but..." and then spend the next paragraph doing just that, saying that if it was 1-1 Anderson would play? If it was purely for rotational policy then the change would happen regardless of the series result. The rationale is exactly that - the next Test isn't important and they can afford to not field their best team.

Posted by whatawicket on (June 5, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

i think if anderson is then selected for the odis against WI and AUS this non selection of him for the last test will not make sense. i would have thought play him in the last test and some of the odis against WI. then miss all the meaningless odis against the aussies makes more sense to me to have happened.

Posted by sambudgie on (June 5, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

Only hope Flower is not throwing the towel in already. Is it an excuse knowing that WI are a better ODI team and we are going to get thrashed. With Gayle and Naraine and the rest of the WI team we do not stand a chance of winning. Do we?

If the weather stay like this cold, wet, damp then that is when we do our winning at home. Out comes the sun we are beat good and proper.

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