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Arthur lashes out at critics of rotation policy

Australian coach Mickey Arthur has lashed out at critics of Cricket Australia's rotation policy and revealed the selectors will attempt to manage Mitchell Starc through tours of India and England with painful bone spurs on his ankle.

Describing critics of the policy as "either naive or stubborn", Arthur said Starc, who was controversially withdrawn from the Boxing Day Test and missed Sunday night's ODI loss to Sri Lanka with a calf niggle, would eventually need an operation to remove an impingement from his ankle and was in constant pain when he bowled.

The coach strongly rejected the claim, made by former fast bowler Brett Lee, that the selectors don't know who is in their best attack because of the constant changes in personnel.

"We are very clear on who the best attack is and who the best team is. I have been annoyed and frustrated by some of the articles that are going around because commonsense prevails when we pick teams. Every time we pick a team we are giving guys opportunities and we pick a team we think is the best side possible to do the job and win. So it's either very naive or just stubborn that people don't understand what we're doing," Arthur said after Australia's eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka.

Both Starc and Mitchell Johnson (side soreness) will be available for the third ODI in Brisbane on Friday and Arthur said both would have played in Adelaide if a place in a World Cup final had been at stake. He also said the omission of batsman Usman Khawaja was part of a pre-ordained plan that he and Steve Smith, who contributed overs of leg-spin, would play one game each.

The usually affable Arthur bristled at the suggestion that sports scientists were picking Australian teams.


"[That is] so far off the mark it's frightening. They give us information and then it's up to us to make the final decision. Michael [Clarke], myself and the selector on duty make the decision based on information that we are given," Arthur said.

"There are three instances where it hasn't been worth the risk.''

He was referring to Ryan Harris during last year's tour of the West Indies, Peter Siddle's resting for the series decider against South Africa in Perth, and Starc for Boxing Day.

"Mitchell Starc plays in all three forms of the game and he had an ankle impingement, he's got spurs that are going to require an operation at some stage, we're hoping that will be a year down the line but at some stage it's going to give in. There was no point in us playing him in a Boxing Day Test match and risk losing him for a one-day series and a tour of India, that would have been plain stupid. We make these decisions with a lot of thought of how and when we're going to use that quick bowler.

"I really wanted to put that on record because I'm sick and tired of talking about it and I'm certainly sick and tired of seeing some of the articles that are going around in the media.

"The example I use is Black Caviar, when she goes and runs a horse race if they don't feel she's 100 per cent right they don't release her. We've done that with our fast bowlers."

Clarke, Matthew Wade and David Warner will return for the next two ODI games. Arthur said Brad Haddin's hamstring injury would be assessed on Monday, although he would have been replaced by Wade anyway, while it is hoped Shane Watson, recovering from a calf strain, will be available for the next Sheffield Shield game for NSW.

Johnson has pain in his side, which he picked up during the SCG Test against Sri Lanka.

Acting captain George Bailey said he could not fault the effort of debutants Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson, who was removed from the attack after six overs for running on the pitch in his follow-through.

"I was looking for something, but I think Cuttsy gave us a bit when he came back for his spells through the middle. Kane was good until he was banned, but I think there's enough there for them. We had options, it would just a matter of getting a breakthrough and getting on a roll and we never did," he said