The Investec Ashes 2013

Lehmann's spin on rotation

Daniel Brettig at Taunton

June 27, 2013

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Darren Lehmann addresses the Australia team, Somerset v Australians, Taunton, 1st day, June 26, 2013
Darren Lehmann talks to his players in Taunton © Getty Images

Rotation, or "informed player management", will still exist in the Australian team now coached by Darren Lehmann. But it will more likely be referred to as common sense.

Lehmann had been a critic of the resting and swapping around of fast bowlers for preventative reasons in his time at Queensland, aligning himself more with the view of Shane Warne that Australia should always choose their best team.

But speaking for the first time about the management of his resources sine replacing Mickey Arthur, Lehmann charted a path somewhere between the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, who had said not to expect change for the sake of it during the Ashes, and the team performance manager Pat Howard, a major architect of the measures that he has stated are still in place.

"We are going to pick the best available each and every time," Lehmann said. " [But] they've got to be fully fit to play. If they are fully fit and they can get through Test matches they will play and if they're not they won't, that's as simple as it will be."

The complex system of workload metrics applied to fast bowlers and the "wellness index" for all players has been a target of much mirth among those not prepared to dig deeper into the correlation between injury and other factors. Lehmann though showed his pragmatism by recognising their place.

"I am certainly guided by the guys that do that," Lehmann said. "At the end of the day we will have to make calls and each case will be different I am sure. We will judge that as it comes. We need them to be fit for the five days, and that's what we're aiming for."

Lehmann's simple language and frankness has been welcome to Australia's players, emphasised by his blunt assurance that Shane Watson would open the batting in the Tests against England. He said he was placing a major emphasis on performance, but was also enjoying his chance to influence the nation's best players.

"We always talk about performing," he said. "If you're performing, you're in the side.

"It's been really enjoyable, myself being a cricket nuffy, watching them play has been great fun. They've trained well and there's been a positive feel around the group.

"It's a been a tough couple of days for the players and support staff and everyone involved in Cricket Australia. We've got to get on with our job, not look back, move forward and hopefully have some good results along the way."

Following on from his broadcast intention to encourage balance among his players, Lehmann also flagged the likelihood of days off for the squad amid the Ashes series.

"They can have a day off," he said. "They don't have too many days off full-stop, so when we get a rest we'll work with the support staff and try to get them a rest."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (June 28, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

Why give watson so many chances???

Posted by   on (June 28, 2013, 4:15 GMT)

Good coaching appointment. Did wonders for Queensland, won everything on offer in domestic cricket and now he's talking the talk. Lehmann will have the respect of the team for his achievements as a player and coach, something Arthur could only dream of. Sensible player, sensible coach, sensible appointment.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2013, 2:31 GMT)

I spoke to Mickey Arthur at a dinner once, and asked him about rotation - and he gave a pained look and said they didn't select based on rotation, but on players being 'fit to play'. He said that was the term he used, because players were only rested when data said the chance of injury was high, and it amazed him that the media continued to ignore that and use 'rotation'.

Now boof says the same thing, and everyone says how its different because he's a communicator. Strange times.

Posted by sudhir98 on (June 28, 2013, 2:23 GMT)

I am afraid boof has too many things stacked against him. All the people singing his praises now need to be patient even if the ashes is lost badly. Clarke needs to drop out of captaincy given his fragile back. Bailey or hadron should be the stop gap until someone can claim it long term. My motto is "anyone but the poms" cheering for the aussies...

Posted by MinusZero on (June 28, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

Just pick the best team. Players get injured, thats why there are backup players. Do football teams rotate out their best players for a rest, no, they just play.

Posted by whoster on (June 27, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

Like all Englishmen, I had a good laugh at the latest Aussie crisis with the sudden sacking of Mickey Arthur. Looking at it now, Lehmann appears the perfect choice as coach. He keeps it simple and tells the players to enjoy it, and this approach will take pressure off them. Mickey Arthur was becoming embarrassing with his silly "we're such a great side" rhetoric, and Lehmann's understanding of the enjoyment aspect of playing will be just what the side need. A coach is only as good as his players though - as proved when Buchanan was in charge. Any team including the likes of Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Gilchrist, Warne, McGrath etc would've still thrashed teams if June Whitfield was their coach. Lehmann will give the Aussies a boost, but whether or not they put up a fight against England will be the responsibility of the players.

Posted by CricKingRK on (June 27, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

Do whatever required, but make australia a force again in world of cricket. It is very painful to see a weak australian team. A strong Aussie team is a must for making world cricket exciting.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

finally australia got a no-nonsense man as coach. infact lehmann it seems is also trying to instill confidence in shane watson whose is a classic case of failing due to lack of confidence n support from the management. maybe now watson can express himself fully with his place secured n playing in his best position. lehmann might just be what the doctor ordered. all the best from india

Posted by   on (June 27, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

Tom moody should is the best choice for AUS .He is the best man manger.I duno y they chose boof.

Posted by   on (June 27, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

I'm hearing words now that I thought were obselete, like "common sense'. Lehmann's comments that the best players will always be picked, and that he wants cricketers, not athletes, fit that bill.

Move aside sports scientists. I'm no expert in the area, but there seems to be a correlation between an increase in science, and an increase in injuries.

Why? Only a guess, but in the old days players learnt it all either in the nets or out on the pitch. They used the muscles they needed, and, yes, of course there were injuries, but not an epidemic of them. You can try and build Supermen, but they are only as strong as their weakest point.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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