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Sutherland has assured all Australian fans that the rotation policy will cease to exist during the Ashes
Cricket Australia’s rotation policy has been controversial since day one as the board continues to search for ways to protect their pace bowlers from falling victim to career-threatening injuries, but Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has looked to calm fears by stating that none of the baggy greens’ quick bowlers will be rotated during the upcoming Ashes series.
Sutherland added that the board and national selectors would pick the best XI for every single Test instead of resting and picking players depending on how tired or fresh they are.
During Australia’s 1-0 home loss to South Africa in December, Cricket Australia were slammed by the media and former players for leaving Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus out of the side for the final Test at Perth.
Cricket Australia found themselves in the firing line once again during the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka as left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc was left out of the team, despite declaring himself fit to play and taking 14 wickets in the previous two Tests.
In both instances it was revealed that the bowlers were struggling with niggles and were extremely fatigued, but Cricket Australia defended their decision to rest the players, stating that they did not want their top bowlers succumbing to serious injuries.
“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.”
Newly recruited coach Darren Lehmann is also one of the team selectors and has been known to pick teams in favour of the best XI and not based on fatigue levels.
Sutherland also noted that the recent controversies surrounding Australian players would have definitely made ex-coach Mickey Arthur look like a scapegoat, but he added that the entire Cricket Australia organisation had to take responsibility for the actions of their players both on and off the field.
“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.”