“WE don’t rotate, mate.”
It’s taken Australian coach Darren Lehmann just four words to do what his predecessor Mickey Arthur attempted to do over the course of a turbulent 18 months.
Restoring the faith of each and every Warnie-wannabe this summer, Lehmann’s pledge on the eve of the second Ashes Test to pick the best 11 cricketers in the country every time Australia takes to the field is the simplest formula for success.
How the much-publicised Argus report didn’t come up with that in the first place should have been the first and only reason needed to toss it out immediately.
If you’re fit, you’ll play, it’s not rocket science.
And by expressing his desire to bury the rotation policy, Lehmann has ensured Australia is now in the box seat to clinch its first Ashes series over England in four attempts.
At any level of competition, consistency is the greatest building block in sport.
Following a 381-run demolition of the English in the first Ashes test at the Gabbatoir, Australia now has the opportunity to ram home its 1-nil advantage and picking the same 11 that got the job done in Brisbane is the first step in doing so.
When the suggestion to rest Ryan Harris, Australia’s premier quick, was tossed up ahead of the Adelaide Test, lunacy is the first thing that comes to mind.
To be fair to Australia’s greatest fast bowler I’m probably going to compare rocks and diamonds with the following, but did John Buchannan ever rest Glenn McGrath one up after the first test in a five-match series?
Of course not.
Consistency is important for this series and for Cricket Australia’s eventual return to the top.
Arthur, the Argus Report and High Performance manager Pat Howard complicated the game of cricket to an almost devastating point but Lehmann and Clarke appear on the right track to redeeming the issue.
After this week Lehmann at least has the backing of the Australian public, a following Arthur never really enjoyed.
The smiles were back in Brisbane, and team harmony and a little bit of faith in a winning squad will take this group to the next level as Clarke leads the way with the bat and Harris with the ball.
The lunatics are no longer running the asylum and as such the baggy green is now a realistic chance of returning the urn.
Here’s hoping the same 11 that begun the campaign in Brisbane are there to enjoy the spoils at the completion of the series in Sydney, all going well, perhaps even earlier.