Embattled Australia ditch rotation policy for Ashes

SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Australia are shelving their controversial rotation policy for back-to-back Ashes campaigns that are in danger of falling into complete disarray barely two weeks prior to the opening test against England.

Described as “informed player management” by national selector John Inverarity, the policy designed to safeguard key players from burn-out has drawn heavy criticism from the media and a number of former internationals.

Struggling for form and beset by disciplinary issues, rotating players is a luxury the team cannot afford and Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland confirmed that the strongest available side would be selected throughout the Ashes.

“…looking ahead to the Ashes series in England and next (southern hemisphere) 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 give players opportunities at international level and see how they cope with that and respond,” he said.

“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.”

The decision is likely to be welcomed by newly appointed coach Darren Lehmann, who has been critical of the policy in the past.

Australia sacked Mickey Arthur and replaced him with Lehmann on Monday, the South African paying the price for the team’s string of poor performance, including a 4-0 test drubbing in India and the failure to win a single match in the Champions Trophy, where they were the defending champions.

Compounding Arthur’s problem was a number of individual disciplinary issues, including David Warner’s Twitter rant against journalists and the opener’s attack on England cricketer Joe Root in a bar after a Champions Trophy defeat.

Australia play a four-day tour match against Somerset from today before the first test of the five-match Ashes series starts at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on July 10.

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