A couple of days ago, we wrote about the slow erosion of a Test team over the course of a series. This is part of the game, but at what point does it become too pronounced?
Australia have omitted their two main pace bowlers for the third and final Test against South Africa. Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus were diagnosed as being ‘knackered’ and have therefore been prescribed a nice sit down and a cup of tea.
But why has this happened? Are the circumstances really so exceptional? Should it be the case that if one bowler gets injured during a Test match then three of them need replacing for the following fixture?
Some will say this is part of modern sport. For example, football and baseball teams play so often that winning a particular competition is generally more about having a good roster of players on which to draw than on having the best first-choice team.
International cricket seems to have found itself in a similar position, but this hasn’t been a conscious decision – it’s just a by-product of playing more matches. It’s therefore worth asking the question: should Test cricket be about identifying the best team or the best squad?
We were going to venture an opinion, but if we go into this we’ll probably end up writing about three more paragraphs and then something else will strike us and we’ll get sidetracked and who knows where it’ll end. Sometimes it’s best to simply not bother.
Remember that – it’s a good philosophy. ‘Sometimes it’s best to simply not bother’.