Shane Warne has launched a scathing attack on Cricket Australia's rotation policy after the selectors decided to give Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja a game each in the first two One-Day Internationals against Sri Lanka before dropping them for the third ODI.
"Playing cricket for Australia is something special, it's not just rotate around and give a guy a game and see how you go," Warne told The Australian. "What sort of pressure is that on a particular player knowing he's got one game - see how you go? There is nothing like knowing that you have performed well enough and are going to play the next game. That is when you perform your best."
Mitchell Starc's omission from the Boxing Day Test was the most contentious of a number of changes made to the squad and came despite Starc taking five wickets in the second innings of the previous Test, at Hobart, with selectors keen to ensure he did not break down with injury.
Warne said the team was not being picked on merit but on fitness grounds. "I don't want to hear any of this 'rotation', I don't want to hear any of this 'resting'," he said. "I think the players ought to take a bit more ownership and say 'you know what, I want to play, if you don't think I should be in the side, drop me'.
"I just think it is a bit disappointing the way Australian cricket is going at the moment. I know there have been some injuries, but it looks like strength and conditioning are picking the team."
Warne, 43, was also unhappy with the decision to not allow James Pattinson to play for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League but still allow him to play local grade cricket after his return from injury.
"It's too intense, Twenty20 cricket, but he is allowed to play eight overs of grade cricket with no help?" queried Warne. "Anyone with half a brain or commonsense will know that playing a semifinal against good opposition where your get four overs is actually better for you than playing eight overs of grade cricket and standing out there for seven hours."
But Cricket Australia justified the decision on Wednesday (January 16), saying Pattinson was ineligible to play in the semifinal due to competition rules.
"I think they were misinformed," said Mike McKenna, CA Executive General Manager of Operations. "The facts are that James Pattinson is available for selection for the Big Bash as per the National Selection Panel's policies, but he's not available under competition rules.
"Before the season started, James had an injury in the Adelaide Test. Australia's medical officer's advice was that it was a minimum six to eight-week injury.
"As it turns out, the Stars at the time decided to replace James with Daniel Worrall in the squad. At that time, James became ineligible for the rest of the competition - and that rule remains the same."