After being smashed into the car park four times by South Africa, Australian cricket fans and pundits are beginning to question Cricket Australia’s policy of player resting.
Most notably, Robert Craddock questioned CA’s “cotton wool” policy in his column in The Courier-Mail last Monday, reminding his readers it was not how things were done during the golden years of Australian cricket.
This is certainly true, with Craddock lamenting the days gone of players such as Glenn McGrath, who “[never stopped] his engine running so it didn’t run cold.”
He also shunned the over involvement of sports science in who should be playing, when they should, and even how many balls should be bowled at each nets session.
There is certainly nothing wrong with the “toughen up” approach that he would rather the selectors and coaches taken towards players such as Josh Hazlewood, currently at home resting for the tough summer ahead.
But we should not make out that there is little or nothing to gain from developing sports science, resting players, and giving debuts to others.
Plenty of pundits seem to be ready to make out that Joe Mennie, Chris Tremain and Daniel Worrall would’ve been better off not playing at all rather than “enjoying” a torrid debut against the Proteas.
Garbage. They will be better bowlers for the experience, and if they cannot recover from their rough introduction to international cricket, perhaps they never belonged at this level to begin with.
This is also the case with players such as Josh Hazlewood, supposedly resting at home merely for the sake of it. At this level, nothing is done on that mantra.
He may not be definitively “injured”, but if he were fit enough to be making an impact at this level, or if the coaches and selectors wanted him to be, he would be here.
If Hazlewood were just resting for the sake of it, then why wouldn’t David Warner be doing so also?
Sports science should not be dismissed for good, “old fashioned” training methods. Both have their place within the modern sporting setup, and practice will always make perfect.
But let’s get real. Nothing that is done or decided at Cricket Australia is ever done so at the detriment of the team.
On this tour, we’ve handed out three new Australian caps to three new exciting quicks.
That is definitely a net gain rather than a net loss.