Monday, October 18, 2021

ECB taking its rest-and-rotation policy a bit too far: Nasser Hussain

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London, Oct 4 (IANS) England seem to have taken their ‘rest-and-rotation’ policy a bit too far and the need of the hour is to pick the best available team, said former skipper Nasser Hussain in a scathing attack on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which has rested key players and even their support staff for crucial series.

Top England cricketers such as Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes, who were part of the IPL, were not in the Joe Root-led team that lost the two-Test series against New Zealand 1-0 just before the World Test Championship final earlier this year.

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In fact, former England Test and ODI captain Alastair Cook had criticised the ECB’s policy and felt the main reason for losing to the Kiwis at home was the fact that the best players were not available for selection.

During the Test series against India, Bairstow and Mark Wood did not compete in the first two Tests and took the field in the fourth match. Besides, England’s first-choice wicketkeeper Jos Buttler too returned home after the opening Test.

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“What Joe Root needs now is as much certainty as possible if he’s going to try to become only the second England captain since Mike Gatting in 1986/87 to win in Australia. He’s spent too long of late trying to lead his country with one hand tied behind his back,” Hussain said in his column for the Daily Mail on Sunday, indirectly saying that the ECB had given few options to the skipper in team selection.

“Some of it has been out of his control, because of Covid. But England have overthought their rest-and-rotation policy, and become too cute with their planning. What they need now is to pick the best team available and not fret if they then pick the same side for the next game. And certainty will only come if he can have honest conversations with his players.”

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Hussain said that if he were in Root’s place, he would ensure all the players were 100 per cent committed to their job.

“If I were captain, I’d need to be sure that anyone on that trip is 100 per cent committed. Fifty-fifty is nowhere near good enough on a tour like Australia, which can be bloody hard work at the best of times. He’s (Root) already going to be without Jofra Archer and possibly Ben Stokes. The least Root deserves now is for the players to make adult decisions – maybe tough decisions – and commit wholeheartedly to the trip.

“Back in 2001/02, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I had to have honest conversations with my players about the tour of India that was coming up. Robert Croft and Andy Caddick pulled out and I respected that. I also knew they would not have been much use to us in India if their minds weren’t fully on the job,” added Hussain.

–IANS

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