Ricky Ponting believes one-day cricket will have to take the strain of Australia's packed schedule with full-strength sides unlikely to turn out for all the contests over the next 18 months. Injury woes have compounded the team's recent reversals in the Test arena, and Ponting feels rotation is the way for the future.
"I think the players, Cricket Australia and the players' association need to start prioritising which of the tournaments that we want to have the team as fit and raring to go as best we possibly can," Ponting told the Australian. "As we know there are lot of one-off little one-day tournaments and and some big Test series around those with South Africa over there and then the Ashes.
"The important thing for me is prioritising that and making sure we have all the players that are taking part in those big Test series as fit and ready to go for those."
Australia have three ODIs remaining against South Africa, with the series currently level at 1-1, followed by five more against New Zealand. They will play three Tests and five ODIs in South Africa before the proposed ODI series against Pakistan, and then head to England for the World Twenty20 followed by the Ashes. The postponed Champions Trophy and Tests against Pakistan are due later in the year followed by another full home season in Australia.
The team's resources have been stretched this season, especially in the bowling department which has lost the services of Brett Lee and Stuart Clark for significant periods while allrounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson are also on the sidelines.
The team management is conscious of player workload and rested Mitchell Johnson for recent one-day games, while Brad Haddin missed the Twenty20 internationals against South Africa. However, Ponting believes that part of Australia's run with injuries is just plain bad luck.
"Does it just come down to workload?" Ponting said. "I think we pay so much attention to workload ... that sometimes it is just the run that you have. But that is why this next phase is so important for us because we can't afford to be going into the Ashes with eight Cricket Australia [contracted] players out injured."
As well as all the international cricket there is also the IPL to fit in along the way, but Ponting said the main concern should be over Australia's matches. Ponting is one of a number of Australians who have IPL deals, including the recently-capped David Warner, but at the moment it isn't at the forefront of his mind.
"There has been a lot made about that [the IPL] and we might have one week after Pakistan in Abu Dhabi or wherever it may be," he said. "I think we need to worry about the international programme before we worry about the IPL."