Sydney: While tension is mounting between Cricket Australia and its Big Bash franchises over availability of the best players, high performance chief Pat Howard made no apology in insisting that Test cricket should be the overwhelming priority.
Emphasis on player welfare has become paramount with a spate of injuries, which has Howard readily admitting the situation is not good enough.
"We`re trying to keep players who are in Test mode out of the BBL (Big Bash League) to give them the best preparation," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Howard, as saying.
He claimed the Big Bash made it more difficult to look after players because many were playing with franchises outside their states and away from their normal support networks. "We`ve got to work pretty closely together to look after all our best players," Howard said.
"It`s something I thank the states for, they do a great job on this, but the interruption of another form of the game, I don`t think any country is doing it brilliantly.
We have to get a lot better at it,” he added. While captain Michael Clarke is striving to recover from a minor hamstring strain in time to play the Boxing Day Test, seven fast bowlers are sidelined with injuries, the paper said.
Howard was particularly concerned about Pattinson breaking down in the second Test against South Africa, the fourth time the 22-year-old has broken down this year. "The big issue is James Pattinson getting hurt and how we dealt with that.
That increased load on everybody else has knock-on affects as well. That`s a pretty big one we`ve reviewed,” he said. "For two seasons in a row he`s been injured in the second Test of a series (suffering a stress injury of the foot against India in January).
It gives us some pretty clear highlights as to how he should be managed,” he added.