Cricket Australia’s team performance boss says top Test teams are all playing the same game with fast bowlers.
Australia’s major Test competitors are all amassing fast-bowling squads and, like Australia, picking quicks when they are ‘fit to perform’, says CA’s Executive General Manager Team Performance Pat Howard.
“If you look at South Africa, England and Australia there is a common philosophy at play,” Howard told cricket.com.au.
“Each of those countries has identified a group of fast bowlers and picks them for Test matches when they’re fit to perform.
"Vernon Philander reported back soreness after the Brisbane Test, was rested for Adelaide and we all saw how he contributed to his team’s success in Perth, taking 4-96 in the match, including several of our key batsmen.
"In Adelaide, Rory Kleinveldt snared 4-146, having also played in Brisbane but the South African hierarchy decided to go with a fresh Philander in Perth.
“England is operating a similar system with their group of quick bowlers. I note there is currently a debate in India as to whether Steve Finn should return for the third Test having not played the previous two, despite England winning the last Test in India by 10 wickets.
“We understand there are a lot of views on this topic but one of the reasons the top teams are managing their resources like this is that modern cricket has added a new format.
"The international schedule has changed in recent years and the break between games is less now.
"The calendar is now more condensed and the recovery time is less.
"The top teams are simply adjusting to the reality of the modern international cricket schedule,” Howard said.
Howard also said that history showed it was in the best interests of fast bowlers to have their international workloads carefully managed and noted that modern Test cricket no longer has a rest-day midway through the Test match.
“Our data shows that Dennis Lillee’s exceptional feats are more the exception rather than the rule.
"We have a number of examples through the 1980s and 90s which show that, when Australian fast bowlers were called on to bowl more than 380 balls in a Test match and then backed-up by bowling in a Test days later for Australia, they often spent a significant amount of time out of the game with long-term injuries.”
The Perth Test was dubbed by many as the ‘Grand Final’ for the world number one Test ranking, with some suggesting the risk of playing Peter Siddle being worth the reward.
But Siddle’s hamstring-niggle from the Adelaide Test and the prospect of losing him for an extended period of time made the decision easier for the National Selection Panel.
Howard said that suggestions Peter Siddle’s vegetarian diet had harmed his ability to perform with the ball were wide of the mark.
“We’ve got sports dieticians at Cricket Australia, working with Peter, and it’s well known in sport that there are plenty of athletes who have excelled that are vegetarian.
“Dave Scott (triathlon), Brett Kirk (AFL) and Martina Navratilova (tennis) are all champions of their sports and have shown there are plenty of other ways to get protein into a sportsperson’s diet,” Howard said.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 04 December, 2012 11:49AM AEST