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CA promises to put fans first in future
Ben Horne
19:49 AEST Fri Feb 8 2013

Cricket Australia (CA) will consider resting overworked stars during overseas one-day tours instead of during home summers, so that fans aren't short-changed and crowd numbers are lifted.

General manager of team performance Pat Howard admitted CA erred in its promise to put fans first when it rested drawcard David Warner for the first one-day internationals of the summer against Sri Lanka.

Howard stood by the busy 2013 schedule as the reasoning for resting Warner, but said the timing could have been better with skipper Michael Clarke and vice-captain Shane Watson sidelined through injury.

CA was subsequently slammed for fielding a 'B' team in a series Australia drew with Sri Lanka - with crowd numbers down and public interest waning.

Asked whether it was fairer to rest players like Warner, who play all three forms, during overseas tours, chief executive James Sutherland said: "Maybe."

Howard acknowledged that fans were being robbed of star power and said Australia should have waited until Clarke was back before they gave Warner a break.

"That's fair," Howard said.

"Balancing fans versus balancing performance is a hard one. The guys who came in hungry, the (George) Baileys, the (Phil) Hughes, have done well.

"Give us an opportunity to create stars to watch. At some stage, these guys have got to be injected.

"When Warner went to the West Indies last year, he was absolutely cooked. He didn't perform, didn't score runs. And if you look at the past 12 months, ODIs have been his weakest format.

"The fan issue is fine - (it's) the performance issue I'd argue that's not right."

There is a packed calendar of cricket ahead in 2013 - a Test tour of India, the IPL, the Champions Trophy, the Ashes in the UK, ODIs against England and India before a return Ashes series in Australia.

As a result, Cricket Australia have strenuously defended its policy of rotating players - particularly fast bowlers.

However CA acknowledged on Friday that mistakes have been made in mixing and matching batsmen.

Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja were given just one match each at the start of the ODI series against Sri Lanka before being dropped.

CA has been criticised for messing with batsmen by rotating them willy-nilly.

"I would have to say we could have done that better, absolutely," Howard said.

"Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja, as the Indian Test tour team has shown, are well regarded. They're not the complete player by any means, but they're very highly regarded.

"Selection is not an easy job.

"I think the Aaron Finch (selection) is about trying to give him some continuity - a proper run at it.

"The selectors do want to give continuity to a couple of people ... continuity is important too."


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