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Too much rest for the wicked?

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Stella
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Post by Shelsey93 Fri 21 Dec 2012, 9:31 pm

Over the last two days we have witnessed two Twenty20 Internationals. First, India beat England at the new ground in Pune on Friday evening, before tonight South Africa hammered New Zealand in Durban. Only one of the four teams involved was fielding anything remotely resembling a first choice XI, and even that wasn’t quite full strength. The prime reason for this is decisions taken by team managements to rest players, a practice which has become exponentially more popular over the last year. The rested list for just these two games would make a world-beating team of its own:

Virender Sehwag, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen, AB de Villiers (wk), Albie Morkel, Graeme Swann, Morne Morkel, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

In addition to this lot New Zealand were missing a player refusing to tour because of issues with the hierarchy (Ross Taylor), and a player not picked because the hierarchy have issues with him (Jesse Ryder). Meanwhile, England captain Stuart Broad was on a lengthy injury list.

And its not just the shortest form of the game that is afflicted by this trend. England will return to India for ODIs in January without at least three first-choice players, and South Africa and Australia have also taken their best players out of action in recent 50-over matches.

Although players have been taking the odd tour game or domestic match off for years, it was Australia that pioneered resting players from full internationals. When at their mid-2000s zenith the policy kept McGrath and Warne fresh, whilst handing richly deserved international caps to the likes of Martin Love, Andy Bichel and Stuart MacGill.

It is still Australia that perhaps lead the way with their rest policy which, in the case of their quick bowlers, often verges on rotation. The key difference is that it would appear that they don’t have a set first-choice attack. Instead, they have a pre-conceived idea that bowler x will be withdrawn after a couple of Tests, to be replaced by bowler y. I think that this is proving dangerous, both for performance and for fitness. As I will come on to, resting is a good thing in moderation. But when somebody isn’t allowed to get a good amount of overs under their belt, they find themselves unprepared for the strains of playing Test cricket, where you have to push yourself for that final spell after a long day in the field. Pat Cummins and James Pattinson are both arguably victims of this policy.

That is not to say that resting players is a bad thing per se. With the amount of cricket that is now played everybody involved with the game, whether they be batsmen, bowlers, coaches or even mere punters need a break from time to time. The risk of injury and burnout ahead of the most important Test series is an unnecessary gamble to take on the very best players. It is, however, a little frustrating when people to buy pricey tickets on the premise that they will see the best players in the world in action, only to see virtual B-teams take to the field. It also takes matches out of their wider context, as whoever loses can always make the excuse that they weren’t at full strength.

So, resting must be a good thing in moderation. But too much of it can not only devalue international matches but also leave young players in particular undercooked. It is the job of team managements to ensure that they strike the perfect balance between rest and play so as that their greatest assets are fit and firing at the pivotal moments.

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Post by Jetty Sat 22 Dec 2012, 2:43 am

Very good post. clap

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Post by Stella Sat 22 Dec 2012, 5:41 am

Yes, excellent post, Shelsey.

I do think resting should be by mutual consesnt. Anderson was rested this summer, much against his wishes along with Broad and what happened? We looked flat and IMO never got going again all summer.

I do also think we should perhaps look at more 'specialist' players for 20/20 Cricket and therefore have our main test players, and in particular bowlers concentrate on tests and ODI's.


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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) Sat 22 Dec 2012, 7:13 am

Broadly agree with one minor correction, Jessie Ryder would have been in SA if he'd made himself available.
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Post by Shelsey93 Sat 22 Dec 2012, 9:41 am

Pete C (Kiwireddevil) wrote:Broadly agree with one minor correction, Jessie Ryder would have been in SA if he'd made himself available.

Thanks for pointing that out OK

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Post by Pal Joey Mon 24 Dec 2012, 1:38 am

"Pat Cummins and James Pattinson are both arguably victims of this policy."

We can add Mitchell Starc to that list as well as Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Sidds,...

John Inverarity said today that Starc will be selected for "either the Melbourne or Sydney Test...due to his age" and then basically said he won't be playing in the MCG Boxing Day Test - which means we will see him play at the SCG.

I wish they would rotate certain 'batsmen' like "Pulitzer" and Watto though and risk giving more in form batsmen a chance to see what they can do in the Baggy Green.

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Post by alfie Mon 24 Dec 2012, 5:21 am

I suspect part of the current Australian rotation policy springs from the fact that , with all the promising if fairly inexperienced young quick bowlers around , the selectors are not quite certain what their best bowling lineup actually is. Or that they feel there really isn't a lot of difference between one or two of the candidates , and some bowlers may be better suited to certain grounds than others. All of which is perfectly reasonable and in fact has been used for Test team selection by many countries over many years...only now it is being presented as injury avoidance strategy rather than just plain choice by the selectors. (This obviously didn't apply to leaving Siddle out in Perth , I think they were genuinely concerned lest he break down and leave them one short. But I suspect in some other cases it is a bit of a smokescreen)
It will be interesting to see whether the rotation policy is used in an Ashes series , especially if the situation of a deciding match comes up...

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Post by Pal Joey Mon 24 Dec 2012, 6:38 am

Well said alfie.
We are definitely entering a new era in player/injury avoidance management.

I'm looking forward to see Jackson Bird fly down his run up.... and listening to see how many bird puns Kerry O'Keefe can come up with. Very Happy

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Post by Peter Seabiscuit Wheeler Mon 24 Dec 2012, 9:32 am

In the case of England though the latest rotations have been put down to mental rest and allowing players time off to look after their lives as much as injury avoidance.
England do play more international cricket than other nations, so maybe not surprising.

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Post by Shelsey93 Mon 24 Dec 2012, 10:07 am

I think that the Starc one is perhaps the most ridiculous I've ever heard.

Whilst changing the entire attack in Perth was a strange move, Hilfenhaus's form was arguably down and Siddle did bowl a lot in Adelaide. But Starc's had 6 days off after playing 2 Tests all year!

As somebody on Twitter said, you don't grow up dreaming of being rested from the Boxing Day Test to manage your workload!

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Post by Pal Joey Mon 24 Dec 2012, 10:54 am

The poor guy looked shattered today in the nets, Shelsey.... holding a football (soccer ball) in his hands and looking really pi55ed off but also trying to look as though he was part of the team.
Not the way to treat a potential star.

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