One of the finest all-rounders of all time, Sir Ian Botham launched a scathing attack on England for adopting the rotation policy during the inaugural World Test Championship. England rested several key players for the tour of India earlier this year and ended up getting smashed 1-3. As a result, Joe Root and Co. failed to make it to the finals.
"I am not sure we are picking the right players. Rotation, I think, is the biggest load of b******s of all time. Absolute garbage. I tell you what, I would like to have seen someone say to me when I was playing 'well done, but you’re having a rest next game'. Err, no I’m not. Bowl, get fit and stay fit by bowling," Botham wrote in his column for The Daily Mail.
It was New Zealand who defeated India in the World Test Championship final. The Black Caps also played a two-match Test series against England prior to the all-important finale and managed to topple Root's men. The first Test ended in a draw but New Zealand managed to win the second Test at Lord's.
"I think our batting is a big worry. Last month, England had a great opportunity at Lord’s when they were given the opportunity of a last-day run chase against New Zealand. People had been waiting for months and months to see live sport and to go out and bat like that in the final innings with no intent was appalling. I thought ‘you guys need to wake up a bit, you rely on the public’.
"Their reason for why they didn’t do it was because Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes weren’t playing. Excuse me. That gives a chance for someone else to come through. I thought it was very weak. They got what they deserved in the end, to be quite frank. Performances like the one at Lord’s don’t do anything to promote Test cricket. Quite the contrary. It was one of the most p***poor performances I have ever seen from an England side.
"You know what, I think the public would have much preferred England to have gone for it and got within 20 runs and if they win it or lose it from that point, whatever. Imagine the West Indies side of the 70s or 80s turning down a challenge like that or New Zealand now. I was pretty ashamed to be honest. I just don’t understand the logic."
England Test captain Root recently suggested that the time is right to "put behind" the much-debated rest-and-rotation policy and field the strongest possible teams against India and later in the Ashes so that they can compete for the next World Test Championship title instead of watching the marquee contest on TV.
"We are coming into a period of time now where rest and rotation is put behind us. We have ten very hard Test matches against two brilliant opposition coming up but it is a great opportunity for us to play some strong cricket and if everyone is fit and available we will have a good team ourselves. Watching the WTC final and not being part of it, it makes you want to be a part of something quite special like that," he said.