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June 27, 2013
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 hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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