Ashes 2013: Peter Siddle wants pacemen to be kept fresh

Stalwart spearhead Peter Siddle has defended the resting of fast bowlers before a busy Ashes schedule, saying critics of the decision don’t understand the demands on modern pacemen.
Nanjing Night Net

Former Test greats Geoff Lawson and Glenn McGrath have criticised the resting of promising NSW speedster Josh Hazlewood from the just completed Sheffield Shield match against Victoria, continuing calls from past players for quicks to bowl more to avoid the injuries that have sidelined pacemen Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Starc.

Siddle and fellow Ashes linchpin Ryan Harris will be rested from this week’s Shield games before next week’s first Test in Brisbane, and the 28-year-old Victorian said that made sense.

”That’s been the plan for a long time and … touch wood, everything goes all right. It is a five-Test series, so to be backing up continuously throughout the summer … [you need] a bit of a break. Have that now and get ready.”

Siddle said it was ”disappointing” that Lawson, the NSW fast-bowling coach, did not understand why such rests were necessary.

”The simple thing is that the games have increased. There’s a lot more games now than Geoff Lawson would have played,” Siddle told SEN on Monday. ”That’s the thing that annoys me a little bit. He’s had a long run of injuries throughout his career. It was said that his career lasted 10 years, and Mitchell Johnson played Geoff Lawson’s career in 3½. That’s a comparison of the games difference and where we’re at.”

In June, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said, ”You won’t see any of that rotation policy,” during this summer’s Ashes series, although selectors would still ”give players opportunities” in international limited-overs cricket to see how they responded.

Criticism of the policy reached fever pitch last summer after Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus were left out of a series-deciding Test in Perth against South Africa, days after nearly bowling their team to victory in Adelaide, and Starc was stood down from the Boxing Day line-up the week after bowling Australia to victory against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

The same day Sutherland made his comments, CA’s high performance manager, Pat Howard, seemed to contradict his boss.

”The workload management policy is still in place,” he said. ”The Ashes is obviously an extremely important series for us, and the selectors will select the best players available for every Test.

”However, if players are injured or we are not confident a player will finish the match, the selectors will consider this. Ultimately a player needs to be able to perform for an entire match.”

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