Telegraph Sports Notebook - Graves’ complaint not rooted in reality

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

England may have won the three-match one-day international series against the West Indies with two comprehensive victories but that hasn’t stopped their methods from attracting criticism.

Not those employed on the field, they have been both efficient and attractive to watch, but those away from the pitch.

The hierarchy’s resting of Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann from today’s third encounter with the tourists at Headingley comes hot on the heels of their decision to leave James Anderson out of the team for the recently contested third Test against the same opposition.

And the chief executive of Yorkshire isn’t happy about it. Colin Graves isn’t shy of speaking his mind and he isn’t a fan of player rotation.

“People who pay good money for tickets expect the best team to come.

“Not having Tim Bresnan playing doesn’t help us as a ground.

“We do our best to sell tickets in a difficult economic climate but it won’t get any easier if they continue to rest key players.”

Graves’ complaint may be specific to his own particular fiefdom but the principle doesn’t change dependent on venue.

And it’s one that will keep rearing its head if, as appears very likely, the resting of key personnel continues in the future.

The argument of punters paying their hard earned to watch the strongest teams do battle is a noble one but it isn’t rooted in reality.

The ironic thing is, this country has more and more grounds that want to stage international cricket yet when a schedule is put in place to satisfy those demands - one that necessitates players being given time off - those who influence the whole process begin to pick fault.

With they way the international cricket calendar has grown to a level that is utterly ridiculous, it is both unfair and illogical to expect countries to field their premier XI all of the time.

England have an itinerary that is more demanding than most but they aren’t the only ones who engage in this practice, and for good reason.

Those who do the playing are very well rewarded for their efforts and don’t take appearing in national colours for granted but they aren’t machines.

International cricket should be the best one country can offer pitted against their counterparts from another.

I know that, you know that and the players know that.

Sadly, the only ones who don’t are the ones who organise the fixtures and then complain when the taxing nature of their work manifests itself.

People such as Graves can’t have their cake and expect to enjoy it.

And this, for once, is an instance where common sense has prevailed.