Cricket Australia announced details of their new rotation policy today. Instead of a ‘horses for courses’ style squad policy, however, they are planning to rest their major players for ‘minor’ series and use those to blood youngsters. On the face of it that is a pretty good plan, however I don’t know how well it will work in the specific circumstances for Australia. The biggest problem they face is that they won’t play a lot of minor cricket over the next few years. Between the upcoming tour to the West Indies and the 2015 Ashes they will only play eight Tests that would probably be considered ‘minor’, and three of those are against Pakistan who could be a vastly improved side when the play in October of 2014. In that same time they have home and away series against England, India and South Africa.
Australia are probably well advised to find a way to blood young players and limit their workload though. Their young bowlers have done a fantastic job this winter (though that is not limited to Australia), but they have also been hampered by injuries. It may just be bad luck, but They have had a batsman and two bowlers go down after just a few Tests each. (Just one Test in the case of Pat Cummins.) They were forced to play young players against New Zealand because of the number of injuries they had. If rotating players in for just a few Test matches will build up their fitness it is certainly a good idea to do so.
Ultimately I think this is a good idea in principle, but perhaps not in practice. In addition to not having a lot of opportunities to implement it, I’m not sure they really have a squad with which to do so either. Most of the young players have already come into the side, and more must do so soon when Ponting and Hussey retire. The only real candidates would be amongst the bowlers and even then they seem to be lucky if they have enough fit ones to make rotation possible. I think it would have been advisable to use a rotation policy where feasible, but not announce it as the default position.