Ian Chappell’s view of squad rotation

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There’s an interview with Ian Chappell over at The Guardian (in which he comes across very well) and there’s a couple of things in it that we want to talk about.

The first is Chappell’s view of the modern world of rest and rotation:

“I can understand that you’ve got to give the fast bowlers a breather every now and then, but to rest batsmen is bollocks.”

Broadly speaking, we agree with this and we think it highlights our main issue with the fixture list and the necessity for rest. However, first we’ll nitpick.

Physical rest versus mental rest

In general, batsmen – and perhaps spinners as well – don’t need physical rest in the way that fast bowlers do. We therefore see little point in resting them from a particular match. However, we do think that they can occasionally benefit from skipping a tour or series in order to retain their enthusiasm.

If that sounds unduly soft, let us explain. It’s not about how the poor millionaires are suffering. It’s more to do with top level sport being about incredibly fine margins and how enthusiasm can ensure that a player fully engages with practice and preparation and all that crap. If you want a batsman at his best for a particular Test series, enthusiasm is one of the ingredients you need and if you’ve eroded that by picking him for a seven-match one-day international series, you’ll have to settle for him performing at 90 per cent or whatever.

The imbalance

But that isn’t really the issue that’s raised by Chappell’s comments. What bothers us is the imbalance. If fast bowlers need resting more than batsmen, you’re forever pitting one nation’s very best batsmen against ‘some of the better bowlers’ from another country.

We suppose this comes back to that question of whether Test cricket should be about identifying the best team or the best squad. Part of us is fine with modern cricket being about having a great stack of bowlers to pick from. It’s a decent measure of a nation’s strength and it’s the same for everyone. However, another part of us thinks it should be about trying to put together a McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne or a Roberts, Holding, Croft and Garner.

Those sorts of attacks test the best batsmen in a way that ‘the best options currently available considering we’ve got half an eye on the next match as well’ don’t and it therefore feels like something is missing from the game at the top level as a consequence.

We’ve something else to say arising from Chappell’s interview, but we’ll save that for tomorrow. That’s right, it’s a double-update weekend. Whatever next?


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  1. Also from Chappell’s interview, which partly explains why we thought he came across well:

    “I think if you’re going to take the cheque you should write the column.”


  2. I’d like to disagree with almost everything Chappell says in that interview.

    I’m not saying that I DID disagree with almost everything – indeed there was little to disagree with in there, but on principle I would LIKE to disagree with Ian Chappell. Great player, slimy bloke.

    I don’t suppose Chappell meant half the things he said in that interview – he’s just trying to plug his book in England, so naturally he says nice things about England players, English writers and English things. I hope his teeth hurt after gritting them for so long while saying those things.

    Interesting read, though, KC, thanks for the link.

  3. Here’s the Gizoogled version


    “I don’t be thinkin we’ll have Cummins yo, but if our crazy asses have Pattinston, Starc, Siddle, thatz tha basiz of a pimpin’ decent pace attack. I be thinkin Jackson Bird will bowl well up in England. Y’all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka! Pace bowlin won’t be a problem yo, but our battin n’ our spin bowling, therez not much depth there, so peek-a-boo, clear tha way, I be comin’ thru fo’sho.”

    1. I could almost like Ian Chappell if he actually did speak and write like that.

      I tried putting my company web site’s home page through the Gizoogle treatment and I must say it worked extremely well – an improvement in many ways.

      Thanks for that, Howe, I’d not come across Gizoogle before. Not even by happenstizzle.

    2. Gizoogle Chappel makes some valid points, however, if the interpretation around ‘passport’ and ‘national team’ can be resolved then the ashes gain an interesting angle, which Mr Gizoogle is all over:

      Leg spinner Fawaz Ahmed, whoz ass will probably make his Sheffield Shield debut against tha Bulls on Monday, then done cooked up a thugged-out double breakthrough.

      Dude bowled Pomersbach fo’ 51 n’ five balls later trapped Peter Forrest LBW fo’ 6.

  4. With a tour every single winter, you’ll inevitably have players not wanting to go every time; it’s fine to spend 3 months away from home when you’re 20, but as you get older that clashes with marriages, kids etc. If you spend half your life away from your family you’ll end up with problems like Graham Thorpe or Marcus Trescothick had.

    Batsmen might not physically need resting so much, but people need a break sometimes; constantly travelling for work and living out of hotels loses its appeal very quickly.

    I hate rotation though; international cricket should be about fielding the very best representational XI you can. So I guess the only answer is less cricket.

    The joys of juggling a squad of players through a long season should be restricted to Championship Manager.

    1. That was about what I was about to say. When I was a young, single chap, I travelled a lot for work. I lived overseas for 9 years and loved it. Now I’m an older, less single chap I don’t and I wouldn’t. Some guys in my business still do. A lot of them are now drunks with screwed marriages and mental states not conducive to carefully constructing big innings in testing conditions. Bowlers need their physical workload managing. All players need to miss a tour occasionally.
      That said, in that bizarre alternate universe where I was good enough to play test cricket, but still knew I only had so much youth to do it in, I’d want to play every match.

  5. I have a hate/hate relationship insofar as Ian Chappell is concerned. He opinions should always be kept in the woodpile as he has always had chips on both shoulders.I can think of many more likeable people like Attilla the Hun, or Vlad the Impaler. I saw him in action many times and he was a fine, aggressive captain and a gritty batsman.His character,though,was first exposed to me in the 70’s series in South Africa where he arrived touted as the best batsman in the world and promptly proved this by scoring about 15 runs total in all 4 tests. What truly great batsmen like Pollock and Richards must have thought can only be guessed!The selectors should have rotated him better, I think. He clearly needed a rest but that was difficult as he had only just started out on his test career. Luckily for him, SA was then chucked out of world cricket. From that time on he haboured a grudge against anything South African to store with all his grudges against everything else.
    I do not accuse him of bias against anybody or anything as he seems to dislike everything equally.
    A very fair man.
    I have several lemon trees with sweeter dispositions.

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