The Investec Ashes 2013 June 25, 2013

'No rotations for Ashes' - Sutherland


Australia's fast bowlers will not be rotated during the Investec Ashes series but the much-debated rotation policy will live on in one-day cricket, according to the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland. Speaking on ABC radio on the day after the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur, Sutherland said that Australia's selectors would be choosing the best XI for each of the upcoming 10 Tests rather than resting players based on workload.

The rotating of fast bowlers - or "informed player management", as the national selector John Inverarity called it - caused controversy last summer when Australia left Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus out of the Perth Test against South Africa after their heavy workloads in the previous Test. It was later revealed, though not at the time, that both men were suffering from injury niggles that meant they would not have been operating at full capacity had they played at the WACA.

Similarly, Mitchell Starc was left out of the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka at the MCG despite the fact that he had taken 14 wickets in the previous two Tests. Again, it was later revealed that Starc was suffering from bone spurs in his ankle and the team management believed it would have been too great a risk to play him, based on the information they had been given by sports scientists on the likelihood of Starc breaking down.

"I think certainly looking ahead to the Ashes series in England and next summer in Australia you won't see any of that rotation policy, as you call it, in the fashion that we have in the past," Sutherland said on ABC radio. "It's about providing opportunities to players for a team that's in transition so the selectors can see, give players opportunities at international level and see how they cope with that and respond.

"For well over a decade the Australian selectors have adopted a policy of doing that particularly with one-day cricket. I've got no doubt that will continue but for Ashes Test matches we will day in day out be picking our best team."

The new coach Darren Lehmann, who is also a selector, is known to be an advocate of picking the best side for every game and it appears he will get his wish in Test cricket. But the rotating of players also became an issue during the limited-overs portion of the Australian summer, when Channel Nine was frustrated at the absence of several star players like Michael Clarke (who was injured) and David Warner from the first ODI against Sri Lanka.

Earlier this month, at the announcement of a new broadcasting deal, the Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell said he was not a fan of rotating players but that it was a matter for Cricket Australia to decide. The abbreviated schedule of ODIs this summer - there are only five to be played against England in January - could mean that rotation in home games becomes less of an issue even in the shorter formats.

Sutherland also conceded in his ABC interview that Arthur could be considered a scapegoat for the recent on-field and off-field failures in the Australian camp and that everyone involved in Australian cricket needed to take some responsibility.

"People will no doubt say Mickey Arthur is a scapegoat in this and to some extent he is but realistically as head coach you need to take responsibility for the performance of the team," Sutherland said. "The players also need to stand up. We all do."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on June 27, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    There will be a natural rotation if the last Ashes Test series is anything to go by - Eng & Oz went through 5 seamers each - while Watto was used extensively as was Collingwood... It will be interesting who Eng use as their fill bowler this time around...

    Personally I'd like a 5-1-5 team as we have strong batters in Faulkner, Starc, Siddle, Pattinson & are looking as better allrounders than Watto has in recent years...

  • Roo on June 27, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    @Moppa - re Harris playing Test 1,3,5. It would make sense if all the pitches were the same, but they are not. I'd have Harris playing the first 2 Tests (Trent Bridge & Lords) then spell him if he pulls up sore as those should suit him the most (weather permitting).

    @Mitty2 :- "virtually every facet of our on field ability/performances and off field actions regressed dramatically under his (Arthurs) reign". The words exaggeration & drama queen come to mind reading your comms. The 2 main selectors, Inverarity & Clarke along with Sutherland gave him the team & made Watto VC in what are very baffling decisions by the management around him. Arthurs was made the scapegoat by those unwilling to stand up & take account for their own mistakes.

  • Robert on June 26, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    I am glad to see the end of the test rotation policy whether it be for now or ever. It has done nothing to make injuries happen less and if anything robbed a bowler of match form. Nothing annoyed me more when a player was rested and usually that next test was always typically perfect conditions for the rested bowler. @ Meety totally agree. Can't understand how Sutherland has stayed for so long.

  • Mashuq on June 25, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    There are 2 ways to look at this. As @Moppa on (June 25, 2013, 8:46 GMT) points out rotation might work with Harris in precisely the way he suggests. On the other hand, @Mitty2 on (June 25, 2013, 8:37 GMT), Harris might play together with Bird and Pattinson. If he breaks down at some stage of the tour, Sayers has shown sufficient form to be his obvious tour replacement. Siddle will definitely get a crack, but England know him too well whereas I believe they'll be surprised by Bird and a Patto who's gained more experience. Harris is getting there and a good performance at Worcester may just tip the scales in his favour for TB. I agree Starc is last in the queue right now, but he'll get more games, e.g., v Sussex, so he might make a comeback depending upon subsequent developments in the series. The problem is the perception that Harris is receiving special treatment and that won't go down well in the dressing room right now, so the decision to scrap rotation makes sense.

  • Anupam on June 25, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    John Inverarity do the silly things. Arthur axing is not a solution, Clarke must be axed from captaincy- this is the only solution. In Australian bucket there are Siddle, Johnson (out in Ashes), Hilfy, Harris, Pattinson, Bird (IMO best in test than any youngster), Starc (very poor test stats but Clarke's man), Cummins, Faulkner (not ideal for test), So, to whom you should not consider ? 3 man pace attack Siddle, Harris, Pattin but where to fit Clarke's boy Starc ? If Harris then why not Hilfy he is the experienced accurate swing bowler looks like Jimmy. I'm confused can't do anything without rotation. or go with 4 man pace attack which is best.

  • Andrew on June 25, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    There is pretty much nobody left in CA from 10 yrs - except for Sutherland. As Oz cricket has diminished over the last 5 yrs, everybody has copped the chop except the man that should be most reponsible - Sutherland. The old saying - a fish rots from the head first - is apt when it comes to Sutherland - please RESIGN.

    ANYBODY - with ANY grace would of resigned 2 years ago - had they presided over the substantial decline under his watch.

  • Geoffrey on June 25, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Interesting. Rotation is the key word for every series and then a 5 test gruelling test marathon and they want to play the best every game. What a joke. Too late to build team unity in the middle of the most important 6 months in Australian cricket history since 2005.

  • H on June 25, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Seems like a knee-jerk reaction. You can definitely take rotation too far but as an England fan I rate Ryan Harris very highly and the best thing for England would be for Australia to bowl him into the ground. Pattinson's had his injury problems too (there's no mention in the article that the reason Siddle and Hilfenhaus had a big workload in Adelaide was Pattinson's injury). While Australia obviously want to win the series in England, doing so by overworking their best bowlers and then going on to lose the return series in Australia would sort of defeat the point. Bird looks tailor-made for English conditions (where control matters more than pace) while Harris and Pattinson can rotate (at least for the England tour) to stay fit.

    @scored-100-at-the-beach the worst place you can bowl to Cook is short. He's a much better back foot player than front. Better to bowl fuller outside off and have him driving at swinging balls. Occasional short stuff, sure, but overdo it and he'll love it.

  • Julian on June 25, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul - or lost!

    Only 5 ODIs v England in January, isn't that plenty?

  • Android on June 25, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    Inverarity is absolutely useless he should of been out with Arthur.