Ashley Giles: England rotation necessary in ‘extremely tough year’

Ashley Giles has defended England’s rotation policy during their 3-1 Test series defeat to India, with the managing director of the men’s team saying a “basic level of care” is needed to avoid player burnout in the face of an “extremely tough year”.

The likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali – regulars across all three formats for England – all missed playing time at some point during the Test series, travelling home to be with their families before returning for the white-ball leg of the tour which starts with the first of five T20Is on Friday.

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Giles has dismissed suggestions that England are prioritising white-ball cricket over the longer format, instead insisting the rest afforded players is necessary given their hugely busy schedule over the calendar year.

“We can’t expect what is considered to be our best team to play every single game,” Giles said on The Hussain and Key Cricket Showwhich you can listen to as a podcast in the player below.

“We’ve got an incredibly busy schedule from now right through until the end of the Ashes: 18 Test matches, including a very busy white-ball program, a T20 World Cup and series’ in Australia and against India.

💬"We're trying to find balance in some unbelievably difficult conditions and environments"💬@Gilo responds to criticism of the rotation policy adopted by England in the 3-1 Test series defeat in India.

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“And, as part of the schedule, the elephant in the room is the IPL. I know that question is going to come up, but that now has to form part of our 12-month schedule – that isn’t going away, whatever anyone thinks.

“It’s an extremely tough year. And ultimately, what we’re trying to do is find a balance in some unbelievably difficult conditions and environments – from a scheduling point of view, a Covid point of view and a workload point of view.

“It’s not going to please everyone. But, having done now almost 15 years in management, I always think a really good starting point is caring for your people.

“For me, this is a basic level of care. The team I played with in the 2005 Ashes fell apart at the end of that period. I was injured, Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones never played for England again and Marcus Trescothick had his issues as well.

“We certainly don’t want that to happen and I feel the responsibility from a wellbeing and welfare point of view for all of our people.”

“We’re trying to find a balance and get to a place where we can have sustainable success.”

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With that relentless schedule over the next 12 months very much in mind, Giles spelled out the teams’ targets, saying they want to hold both world white-ball trophies as well as win the Ashes back in Australia.

“We have two really important strategic objectives that we’re heading towards at the end of the year: the T20 World Cup and the Ashes,” Giles said.

“We’ve still got a lot left in us; we want to hold both white-ball trophies – that would be a fantastic effort for this team – and we want to win the Ashes back in Australia.

“But, after that, there is still a lot of cricket coming up and it’s about trying to find balance in an environment where it’s particularly difficult to do that.

“Actually, about four or five days after we come back from Australia, the white-ball team goes to the West Indies.

“We’re going to need more players, a bigger pool of players capable of playing at this level, in order to play all of this cricket.

“We want to get to the Ashes and T20 World Cup with fit people – mentally and physically – and our biggest concern was, given the workloads, the schedule, that unless we were really proactive we wouldn’t be able to do that.

“I still think very much we can go to Australia and challenge. That’s still a big target of ours, and we know how tough that will be.”

Also discussed on The Hussain and Key Cricket Show:

– County cricket schedule and how the domestic game can best serve England.

– Is there a route back into the England setup for Alex Hales?

– CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde looks ahead to the T20 series and some of the key trends to watch out for.

Watch England’s five-match T20I series in India live on Sky Sports. Our build-up to the first game starts at 12.30pm on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.

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