VB Series, 2005-06 January 25, 2006

Rotation doesn't make sense - Waugh

Cricinfo staff

Steve Waugh: Glenn McGrath needs a heavy workload © Getty Images

Steve Waugh believes Australia's current rotation policy doesn't make sense and the selectors are tempting fate by resting key players at a crucial time in the VB Series. Waugh, writing in his Daily Telegraph column, said the wrong people were being given a break after Glenn McGrath missed Sunday's match at the SCG and Ricky Ponting was given this week off, including Thursday's Australia-Day game against Sri Lanka.

Mark Taylor, Ian Chappell and Tony Greig are other former Test captains confused with the policy. "While I strongly support a rotation system for limited-overs matches," Waugh said, "it doesn't make sense to be resting Glenn McGrath and Ricky Ponting.

"It's a bit lame to suggest McGrath was told to put his feet up in Sydney after roughly 27 days' cricket since the Ashes campaign, which was 135 days ago. The decision was doubly surprising considering he is a bowler who enjoys and needs a heavy workload to keep his body in sync and fine-tuned to the demands of quick bowling."

Waugh was a strong advocate of rotation when he was captain, but he said changing the team needed to serve a purpose such as trialling a player or allowing someone to recover from a niggle. "Change should not be just for the sake of change," he said.

The main issue has centred around Ponting being given a break from the Adelaide match and he has been replaced at No. 3 by Brad Hodge. "If anyone has a need to recharge, it would have to be the captain," Waugh said. "But that's exactly why you are the captain - because you are the benchmark for resilience and mental toughness, and seen by the team as almost indestructible. To be having a rest at a crucial juncture in the limited-overs series is tempting fate and opening the door to both Sri Lanka and South Africa, who will see this move as a lack of respect and be motivated by it."

Hodge was unsure how long he would be in the squad, but he supported Ponting's holiday. "We were just joking about it before that even the prime minister had a few weeks off over Christmas while Ricky was busy making a century in Melbourne and a century in each innings in Sydney," Hodge said in The Australian.

Taylor spoke about the rotation problems on Nine before South Africa's win over Sri Lanka last night and said not playing the best team was "dangerous". "If you start to struggle, you are not winning the games you think you are going to win, I think you have to get the rubber out, say: No, no, that rest is now out," Taylor said. "Sorry Ricky, you are now back in." Australia have won only two of their four VB Series games and they lead the competition by one point.