AUSTRALIAN pacemen seething at being withdrawn from key matches in case of injury must look beyond their captain if they want a sympathetic ear. Michael Clarke has given his emphatic endorsement to the contentious policy of injury-preventive management being led by Cricket Australia fitness staff that has ruled left-armer Mitch Starc out of the Boxing Day Test.
''I'm not really sure if I like that word 'rotation'. It's more player management than rotation. It's not 'You come in today, you're out tomorrow', it's not like that at all. It's about looking after the individual player, which in essence looks after the team,'' Clarke said on Tuesday.
The captain said Australia was uniquely placed among international teams because so many of its favoured pacemen - the likes of Starc (22), James Pattinson (22), Pat Cummins (19) and Josh Hazlewood (21) - were physically immature.
''We've got the youngest fast-bowling unit in the world. We're in a completely different situation to a lot of other teams, and we've had a lot of injuries. We need to manage players as well as we possibly can,'' Clarke said.
''It's not something we as Australians are used to. I think it's a reality of our sport now. I think we need to continue to manage our players as well as we can to make sure we can consistently put our best team on the park. It's the same discussion I had about Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus missing Perth. They weren't rested, they weren't fit enough - at 100 per cent - to … give us every opportunity to win that Test match.''
Clarke suggested players' frustrations would be tempered if they remained injury-free.
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter