West Indies in England 2012 June 20, 2012

Bell sympathy for paying fans

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With England leaving out three frontline bowlers for the final one-day international against West Indies the issue of rotation has again been brought to the fore. It has ignited the debate about whether the game is being cheapened, especially for those who have paid considerable amounts for tickets to the match at Headingley.

Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann - the three players missing Friday's ODI - are the only first-choice picks across all three formats for England following Kevin Pietersen's limited-overs retirement and Ian Bell, who is now back in the 50-over side as Pietersen's replacement, understands that some of the public will be disappointed at not seeing a number of the star names.

"Of course, I have some sympathy," said Bell. "It has slightly weakened our attack, but I still think it is a team that can go out and beat West Indies. There's no doubt people want to come to see the Broads, Andersons and Bresnans. But they will be seeing young, exciting guys who will be big players for England over the next few years."

Andy Flower, the England coach, has been firm in his explanations of why he is taking such an approach which included resting Broad and James Anderson from the final Test against West Indies. With England facing another five ODIs against Australia, followed by a full series in all formats against South Africa, then another hectic away season he believes that key players cannot play every match.

Bell agreed there was a balance to strike. "There's a heavy schedule coming up," he said. "We need to look after these guys. The key to our success in one-day cricket is having five out-and-out world-class bowlers. So if we want to beat the Australians, we want these guys fit and fresh and ready to go. For the three guys who play in all three forms of the game ... it's going to be crucial."

So far this season it has only been the bowlers or allrounders who have been rested although Andrew Strauss was among the first players given time off by Flower when he missed the Bangladesh tour in early 2010.

Although Bell sees the merits of rotation for the bowlers he has no desire for any downtime himself, especially after hitting a rich run of form which has seen him return to ODI colours with scores of 126 and 53. One of the major reasons behind England's defeat against Pakistan earlier this year was the rustiness of the batsmen after a two-month break, with Bell suffering particularly badly in the UAE, and he does not want to risk a repeat.

"Going into the UAE series, we'd had two or three months off - and I felt I'd lost my rhythm completely," he said. "So batting-wise, for me if I'm batting the better I play. It's out of my control if Andy was to give me a game off. But personally, from a batting point of view, if I'm out in the middle scoring runs, I want to stay scoring runs - definitely."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY PanGlupek on | June 22, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    To try and give this some perspective, Man United played 54 matches last year, Wayne Rooney played 44 of them. I've worked out that England played maybe 80 days of cricket between last October & now, about half of which were 5 days straight. I know it's a bit unfair to compare the type of fitness required for both sports, but if Rooney needs a game off every 10 matches or so, I'd guess a bowler would need a rest maybe every 10-12 games to stay at thier peak, so fair play England for resting these guys. @SIRSOBERS: Not that the article had anything to do with England pinching players, but I do feel sorry for Ireland & wish they could somehow get fast-tracked to test status to avoid that (they won't, too many reasons to talk about here). As for SA, if people like KP & Trott aren't getting chances there & they have family with British passports, that's SA's fault for not aknowledging them. What should Eng's selectors do, not pick the best players available to them?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 22, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - Not sure there would be enough overs for Gayle to score a 50 , let alone Bell

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | June 22, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Good luck Ian. Looking forward for another 50+ score from your willow.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 22, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    @LabMan on (June 21 2012, 15:30 PM GMT), it's your prerogative to feel that way but I hope you're not implying that ECB should care. Maybe you should feel more disrespected by your own players showing so low regards for your cricket that they'd rather play in an Indian domestic tournament for the money than play for WI. Those players were doing what they considered best for them and ECB are doing what they consider best for English cricket. Assuming the game isn't washed out, if WI win then you can say "I told you so".

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    @LabMan on (June 21 2012, 15:30 PM GMT) - It's a full strength batting line up with a 2/5 bowling line up. If England had such a low regard for WI cricket they'd have not played a full strength side in the 1st 2. You have to understand that now the SA series is alot more important. Also please bear in mind the weather. Likelihood of little if any play

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    @Stark62 on (June 21 2012, 14:10 PM GMT) Re "Who cares about the rested English players, when Gayle is playing!!" - Answer English cricket fans

  • POSTED BY AdrianVanDenStael on | June 21, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    @MartinC: "There is a world of difference though in the intensity of playing pretty much full time International cricket and turning out in County cricket in front of a few hundred spectators and playing some pretty mediocre cricket back in the late 70s and 80's on the English County circuit." I don't think English county cricket was at its worst in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and particularly not in the early 1970s when Botham and Willis, e.g., were playing. It actually got worse in the late 1980s when rules on playing overseas cricketers were made more restrictive. Since then the rules have been freed up a bit again, with the effect that the county game has got tougher, partly because competition for places has got more fierce. Notwithstanding the many complaints, both from England fans and others, about the numbers of "foreigners" and "Kolpaks" in the English game, these have actually contributed to the strengthening of English cricket, especially at the county level.

  • POSTED BY BRUTALANALYST on | June 21, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    @Richard Bradstock THERE is a HUGE difference between players growing up and learning the game in a country like Usman Khawaja representing Australia youth teams than there is England poaching the likes of KP.KIESWETTER.TROTT that all grew up supporting and learning the game in South Africa representing South Africa U19's quite frankly it's embarrassing and needs to be stopped. The same should be said about the Irish Joyce/Morgan and now DOctroll how can the ECb expect cricket to grow in Ireland when all the best players are taken by England ?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @Martin Hick on (June 21 2012, 10:46 AM GMT - not the worst idea there

  • POSTED BY LabMan on | June 21, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    I feel so disrespected as a West Indian that the English have so low regards for our cricket that they have fielded basically a second string team

  • POSTED BY PanGlupek on | June 22, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    To try and give this some perspective, Man United played 54 matches last year, Wayne Rooney played 44 of them. I've worked out that England played maybe 80 days of cricket between last October & now, about half of which were 5 days straight. I know it's a bit unfair to compare the type of fitness required for both sports, but if Rooney needs a game off every 10 matches or so, I'd guess a bowler would need a rest maybe every 10-12 games to stay at thier peak, so fair play England for resting these guys. @SIRSOBERS: Not that the article had anything to do with England pinching players, but I do feel sorry for Ireland & wish they could somehow get fast-tracked to test status to avoid that (they won't, too many reasons to talk about here). As for SA, if people like KP & Trott aren't getting chances there & they have family with British passports, that's SA's fault for not aknowledging them. What should Eng's selectors do, not pick the best players available to them?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 22, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - Not sure there would be enough overs for Gayle to score a 50 , let alone Bell

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | June 22, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Good luck Ian. Looking forward for another 50+ score from your willow.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 22, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    @LabMan on (June 21 2012, 15:30 PM GMT), it's your prerogative to feel that way but I hope you're not implying that ECB should care. Maybe you should feel more disrespected by your own players showing so low regards for your cricket that they'd rather play in an Indian domestic tournament for the money than play for WI. Those players were doing what they considered best for them and ECB are doing what they consider best for English cricket. Assuming the game isn't washed out, if WI win then you can say "I told you so".

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    @LabMan on (June 21 2012, 15:30 PM GMT) - It's a full strength batting line up with a 2/5 bowling line up. If England had such a low regard for WI cricket they'd have not played a full strength side in the 1st 2. You have to understand that now the SA series is alot more important. Also please bear in mind the weather. Likelihood of little if any play

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    @Stark62 on (June 21 2012, 14:10 PM GMT) Re "Who cares about the rested English players, when Gayle is playing!!" - Answer English cricket fans

  • POSTED BY AdrianVanDenStael on | June 21, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    @MartinC: "There is a world of difference though in the intensity of playing pretty much full time International cricket and turning out in County cricket in front of a few hundred spectators and playing some pretty mediocre cricket back in the late 70s and 80's on the English County circuit." I don't think English county cricket was at its worst in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and particularly not in the early 1970s when Botham and Willis, e.g., were playing. It actually got worse in the late 1980s when rules on playing overseas cricketers were made more restrictive. Since then the rules have been freed up a bit again, with the effect that the county game has got tougher, partly because competition for places has got more fierce. Notwithstanding the many complaints, both from England fans and others, about the numbers of "foreigners" and "Kolpaks" in the English game, these have actually contributed to the strengthening of English cricket, especially at the county level.

  • POSTED BY BRUTALANALYST on | June 21, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    @Richard Bradstock THERE is a HUGE difference between players growing up and learning the game in a country like Usman Khawaja representing Australia youth teams than there is England poaching the likes of KP.KIESWETTER.TROTT that all grew up supporting and learning the game in South Africa representing South Africa U19's quite frankly it's embarrassing and needs to be stopped. The same should be said about the Irish Joyce/Morgan and now DOctroll how can the ECb expect cricket to grow in Ireland when all the best players are taken by England ?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @Martin Hick on (June 21 2012, 10:46 AM GMT - not the worst idea there

  • POSTED BY LabMan on | June 21, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    I feel so disrespected as a West Indian that the English have so low regards for our cricket that they have fielded basically a second string team

  • POSTED BY Stark62 on | June 21, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Who cares about the rested English players, when Gayle is playing!! :)

    Although, I did want to see Gayle vs Swann round 2 because Swann got a lucky dismissal against him and wanted to see how Gayle would him play him the second time.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    Compton - there's a South African name. Suppose Denis Compton was a Saffa too...

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Usman Khawaja RandyOz? Imran Tahir for South Africa? There are plenty of examples in cricket and other sports so give it a rest. With Englands historical ties to the rest of the world it's always going to happen!

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | June 21, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    @BifferSpice- completley agree with you. Nobody outside the media cares if we rest players. It is just as enjoyable to watch the upcoming talents play. I would actually rather go and watch a young pretender than say Trott or Bell because we already know what they can do.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 21, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    RandyOz, you're like a broken record. UK is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, with past/present ties to many other countries like South America, Australia... If good cricker players take the time and effort to come over and qualify for the England team, so be it! When players put on the ENGLAND shirt, they are playing FOR ENGLAND, and that's what us Brits enjoy. On saying that, I totally agree with your KP comment... I always believed KP plays for KP, not the team in which he happens to be at the time. Still a star player though, so hey - what can we do!

  • POSTED BY 200ondebut on | June 21, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    I don't think leaving out bowlers is as bad as not having your best batsmen playing. Afterall one day cricket is about boundaries. England fans come to see all formats of the game - which means the grounds don't need to have multicoloured seats to make it look full. They won't mind that these bowlers are missing as long as we win.

    That said, I'm not sure why a young lad like Broad needs so much rest. Perhaps he should lay of the golf for a while if he is a bit tired!

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 21, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    @Yevghenny on (June 21 2012, 09:41 AM GMT), if you can't see the sense in it then you're not looking very hard. Resting a player from an entire series risks that series. This series is already won so now is the ideal time to rest players. England don't want to lose the third game but, if they do, they still win the series anyway. Tell me this: if you got a Wednesday off from work now and again, would that not make a difference to you? Why then would getting a game off every now and again not help a sportsman with a hectic schedule? Anyway, England do rest players from tours when they think they can get away with it. Strauss was rested against Bangladesh and Anderson was rested from the last series in India when they probably thought his impact would not have been especially great anyway.

  • POSTED BY BifferSpice on | June 21, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    most cricket fans are knowledgeable. they will be happy england are doing well, and will want england to succeed. we have gone through too long a period of being rubbish, and we are enjoying being a real force in the game. the results coming in more than make up for any slight disappointment about who is / is not playing for the odd day here and there. i think this is more of an issue with the media than the paying public, who are more intelligent than this sort of article would have you believe

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    why not have the players who are not playing doing some PR work with the fans so peaple will turn uo to see a game and chance to meat players not playing.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    As the series is already won, Flower is resting the right people in order to be ready fr the T20 and the upcoming ODI series against the aussies.

    Flower cant be blamed for trying to keep players fit and healthy. World cricket needs to man up and admit that if they want the best players at every game they need to restrict the number of games they play.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | June 21, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    England have never been a side to please their fans, otherwise they wouldn't have filled it with South Africans. The problem with the English is none of them are loyal to England. KP was off to watch SA play rugby during an ODI, which was terrible. The fans are no different; half of them live in Australia!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | June 21, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    @ jackiethepen on (June 21 2012, 00:24 AM GMT) Surely the England management selectors responsibility is to make sure that their best players are in the best condition for the biggest matches and surely preventing injury/burnout or whatever is better than potentially running those players into the ground and having them underperforming in the biggest matches. I do agree that they could/should have rested one player per game rather than all 3 at once.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | June 21, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    The so-called 'new wave' of South Africans on the English cricket team (meaker, kieswetter, compton, dernbach to name a few) should be getting a game. These guys will be the next set of players who will perform for England, because lets face it actual English talent is non-existent. Get used to it English fans.

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | June 21, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    I think England are getting a little carried away with this resting business. If you rest a player it should be from an entire leg on an away tour, tell them to rest from the ODI's. Not just a match here and there, I can't see the sense in it.

  • POSTED BY i_witnessed_2011 on | June 21, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    I think fans will enjoy real competetive cricket... Stardom is good but same team can not play whole year. change is always good ;-)

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    Most Yorkshire fans would forgive England for not playing Bresnan so long as Jonny gets a go. Having Jonny in the squad and not playing him but denying him from the Yorkshire T20 squad would not be a way to get the Yorkshire faithful onside.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 21, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    People are talking about fans feeling hard done by but it's important to remember that Andy Flower's job is to ensure that England win as many cricket matches as possible. What the fans may think of it would be quite a distant concern for him. Yes, scheduling fewer games would make resting less necessary but that's not within Flower's power (sorry) to change so he is doing what he sees as best for the England cricket team. I'm not paying for tickets in England so maybe my perspective is slightly different but I say good on him.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 21, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    @Blake Houston on (June 21 2012, 06:39 AM GMT), for one thing Anderson is not resting again and, with regards to Broad, he is the bowler with the heaviest workload for England and has shown a propensity to pick up injuries. After this game there are still 3 Tests, 10 ODIs and 4 T20s this English summer and then it's straight off to the World T20. There's lots of cricket coming up so resting him now, while they can afford it, makes perfect sense. Kind of obvious really.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    broad and anderson were already rested from the 3rd test so why the hell are they resting again?

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | June 21, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    @G.Sri on (June 21 2012, 03:10 AM GMT), it's not really a silly excuse. Too much time away from the game certainly makes a difference. People were saying the same about SA when they hosted Australia, i.e. using rustiness as an explanation for some of their poor play. The fact that people say that rustiness was a factor for England in UAE doesn't mean that that was the only factor. England batted poorly in UAE no doubt and, had they not been rusty, probably would have batted better but whether they would have won the series, or even a game, is by no means certain and noone is saying that it is. To my mind, they made a tactical blunder by choosing to play negatively against spin and then another blunder by not changing the plan when it became evident that what they were doing was not working. They even played the same way in the first innings in SL and things went the same way. They started changing their approach in the second innings in Columbo and started looking much better.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    All that the fans need to do is give them a dose of their own medicine. Follow a rotation policy in watching the matches. :)

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | June 21, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    "One of the major reasons why England lost in UAE because rustiness of the English/SA batsmen". Are you joking? They looked like club cricketers in UAE, to be honest. Its a well known documented fact that England is by far the worst tourist in Asian conditions, it'll be proven again this winter. These kind of silly excuses make no sense. Can't wait for Proteas hammer the SA B side and put them where they belong. Cricinfo pls publish.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | June 21, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    people shd vote with their feet and not go and see these pointless odi series shoehorned in between the more important stuff.. this will give the message to the ecb accountant and the acb accountant who dreamt up such as waste of time.

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | June 21, 2012, 0:24 GMT

    To rest 3 bowlers out of 5 seems overkill. Surely if you have a rotation policy you rest one bowler at a time? But I don't think Flower is being totally straight about this because the 3 bowlers will play in the t20 on Sunday. He has chosen to prioritise the t20 over the ODI despite saying only a few weeks ago that ODIs are more important. Wasn't that the reason behind why KP wasn't allowed to play t20 if he wasn't going to play ODIs? Also to rotate bowlers in Test matches should be not allowed. Tests will only be the pinnacle of the sport if the best teams are competing. Flower needs to respect the game more. Winning every game in the Test Series should be his aim. Restrict rotation in ODIs to one player. As for the batsmen how can it serve them to play in a game with a weakened bowling attack? It will make it easier for the Windies to attack them and win because the balance of the sides will have changed.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    This debate is the result of incorrect perceptions. The fans at the next game won't see Anderson & co. But by extending their careers an extra two years through proper management hundreds of thousands of fans who wouldn't have gotten to see them if they'd been worked into the dust will get to watch them in action. Big picture vs little picture.

  • POSTED BY attilathecricketer on | June 20, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    All is good as it is only the bowlers getting rotated. Of course batsmen don't need to be rotated, can clock up the caps and then come out ahead on the calculation of whose has the most experience when it comes to deciding who should skipper. Same as you don't need to respect fielders throwing the ball in from the boundary and whether or not the umpires have signalled a four or walk when you edge the ball.

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | June 20, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    I can understand it from both points of view. The result is the quality of international cricket will decrease. One simple answer is, reduce the number of games teams have to play.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | June 20, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    Resting players is a judgement left to the people in the know, but Eng have such a depth in talent right now we lose very little in rotation. Finn/Monti/Onions would get into most test sides around the world. Dernbach is another exciting prospect in the shorter form. ODI are important but I would rather save our best for test!

  • POSTED BY MartinC on | June 20, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    With the amount of cricket they play rotation makes complete sense. I know some of the ex players say they played more days of cricket in the 70's and 80's when they also played County Cricket as well as the International series.

    There is a world of difference though in the intensity of playing pretty much full time International cricket and turning out in County cricket in front of a few hundred spectators and playing some pretty mediocre cricket back in the late 70s and 80's on the English County circuit.

    No one seems to moan if Alex Ferguson puts Rooney on the bench for a Premiership game so he is fresh for a Europeam tie in midweek .....

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 20, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    My sympathy goes out to all fans paying so much money to go watch the games regardless of who's playing...

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  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | June 20, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    My sympathy goes out to all fans paying so much money to go watch the games regardless of who's playing...

  • POSTED BY MartinC on | June 20, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    With the amount of cricket they play rotation makes complete sense. I know some of the ex players say they played more days of cricket in the 70's and 80's when they also played County Cricket as well as the International series.

    There is a world of difference though in the intensity of playing pretty much full time International cricket and turning out in County cricket in front of a few hundred spectators and playing some pretty mediocre cricket back in the late 70s and 80's on the English County circuit.

    No one seems to moan if Alex Ferguson puts Rooney on the bench for a Premiership game so he is fresh for a Europeam tie in midweek .....

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | June 20, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    Resting players is a judgement left to the people in the know, but Eng have such a depth in talent right now we lose very little in rotation. Finn/Monti/Onions would get into most test sides around the world. Dernbach is another exciting prospect in the shorter form. ODI are important but I would rather save our best for test!

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | June 20, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    I can understand it from both points of view. The result is the quality of international cricket will decrease. One simple answer is, reduce the number of games teams have to play.

  • POSTED BY attilathecricketer on | June 20, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    All is good as it is only the bowlers getting rotated. Of course batsmen don't need to be rotated, can clock up the caps and then come out ahead on the calculation of whose has the most experience when it comes to deciding who should skipper. Same as you don't need to respect fielders throwing the ball in from the boundary and whether or not the umpires have signalled a four or walk when you edge the ball.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    This debate is the result of incorrect perceptions. The fans at the next game won't see Anderson & co. But by extending their careers an extra two years through proper management hundreds of thousands of fans who wouldn't have gotten to see them if they'd been worked into the dust will get to watch them in action. Big picture vs little picture.

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | June 21, 2012, 0:24 GMT

    To rest 3 bowlers out of 5 seems overkill. Surely if you have a rotation policy you rest one bowler at a time? But I don't think Flower is being totally straight about this because the 3 bowlers will play in the t20 on Sunday. He has chosen to prioritise the t20 over the ODI despite saying only a few weeks ago that ODIs are more important. Wasn't that the reason behind why KP wasn't allowed to play t20 if he wasn't going to play ODIs? Also to rotate bowlers in Test matches should be not allowed. Tests will only be the pinnacle of the sport if the best teams are competing. Flower needs to respect the game more. Winning every game in the Test Series should be his aim. Restrict rotation in ODIs to one player. As for the batsmen how can it serve them to play in a game with a weakened bowling attack? It will make it easier for the Windies to attack them and win because the balance of the sides will have changed.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | June 21, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    people shd vote with their feet and not go and see these pointless odi series shoehorned in between the more important stuff.. this will give the message to the ecb accountant and the acb accountant who dreamt up such as waste of time.

  • POSTED BY Srini_Indian on | June 21, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    "One of the major reasons why England lost in UAE because rustiness of the English/SA batsmen". Are you joking? They looked like club cricketers in UAE, to be honest. Its a well known documented fact that England is by far the worst tourist in Asian conditions, it'll be proven again this winter. These kind of silly excuses make no sense. Can't wait for Proteas hammer the SA B side and put them where they belong. Cricinfo pls publish.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    All that the fans need to do is give them a dose of their own medicine. Follow a rotation policy in watching the matches. :)