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Rotation brings long-term gain: Arthur
By Joe Barton
17:57 AEST Sat Jan 19 2013

Australia's cricketing brains trust continue to stand firm on the benefits of a rotation policy in the wake of the atrocious one-day loss to Sri Lanka in Brisbane.

Despite the four-wicket loss, in which Australia posted just 74, their lowest score since 1986, coach Mickey Arthur believes the strategy will deliver long-term results.

Cricket Australia came under fire for resting key players, most notably fast bowlers during the Test series, and then trio Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matt Wade for the opening two ODIs.

Champion fast bowler Brett Lee even accused CA of not knowing its strongest lineup - but Arthur argues the modern game is no longer about finding your strongest 11, but maintaining a squad of 16 interchangeable players.

He agrees that in the short term, the frequent changes could hamper the team's ability to develop momentum and consistency - but advantages will be felt over time.

"That is the one drawback," Arthur said on Saturday.

"In an ideal world, and in my previous jobs, I've been very strong on it, you want structure and you want stability.

"Because structure and stability give you success.

"But with the amount of cricket we play we can have structure and stability with a squad of 16 players instead of a team of 11.

"I think that's the way we've got to go. It literally is as simple as that.

"... And once we've got that squad of 16 it's very easy to know exactly how they fit in, what their roles are and where they stand in the pecking order."

Arthur revealed that at times the sports science recommendations had been ignored and players had been asked to play through pain.

"People have questioned do we know who the best team is? Of course we do," he said.

"As I said last week, Michael and I make decisions with the selector on duty based on information we've given.

"A huge amount of times we've said 'no, we're not going to take that up, we're going to play the bowler ... we want him to push through'.

"We've done that plenty of times, but unfortunately that will never get reported because nobody knows that.

"The other times that we've rested players have been with the players' interest at heart and with the team's interest at heart."

The rotation policy is unlikely to extend to granting an ODI debut for Jackson Bird, who made an immediate impact in his two Tests against Sri Lanka this summer.

Bird was drafted in as the standby pace bowler for the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka at the SCG on Sunday, but Arthur said he wasn't in line to debut.

Arthur called on his charges to make immediate and drastic improvements to their games for the SCG match with the series 2-1 in Sri Lanka's favour.

"It clearly is not good enough though," he said.

"I know the guys have taken it on the chin. They've taken it very, very badly.

"Which is good because every time we play we play to win. And we certainly don't expect performances like that from the quality of players we've got at our disposal"