‘In form’ Starc’s omission from Boxing Day Test puts ‘rotation’ policy under scanne

Sydney: Australia’s decision to rest in form Mitchell Starc from the Boxing Day Test match against Sri Lanka at the MCG in the name of rotation has once again stirred debate on the controversial policy for fast bowlers, according to cricket writer, Chris Barrett.

“Given his (Starc) match-clinching efforts against Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart, something of a career breakthrough, and the fact he had played only the two Tests in succession, he assumed his selection for Boxing Day was a mere formality,” Barrett wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Only on Sunday evening was it confirmed to the left-arm quick that what he had read was right: his over numbers were in the risk category; that, if he bowled in Melbourne, there was a tangible danger that he might break down with an injury,” he added.

“The whole episode looked more farcical when the non-injured Starc was ruled out, while semi-fit captain Michael Clarke, trying to overcome a hamstring strain, was given as much time as he needed to play,”.

He further wrote Barrett added: “There are all sorts of vehement arguments being made against Australia`s interchange of fast bowlers for Tests, aimed at the prevention of injury.”

“Dennis Lillee, Brett Lee, Geoff Lawson, Stuart Clark and myriad others have repeatedly slammed it, seeing a baggy green cap as not something to be traded lightly and believing it moronic to strip a bowler of momentum in the name of sports science,” he wrote.

“The critics say it no longer rewards effort and success - Starc, with 14 wickets in two Tests, was on a roll.

The players themselves, as to be expected, do not want to give up hard-earned spots in the most exclusive of teams, particularly at a time of the year when all eyes are on them,” he further added.