Fight Club, his incendiary rumination on the existential thrill of being punched in the gob, David Fincher does a spectacular job of skewering the “Ikea nesting instinct” that lives in most of us. One quote has always stayed in the Spin’s mind. After his condo is burned down – by himself, the daft bugger, but he doesn’t know that yet – Ed Norton’s character tells Brad Pitt: “When you buy furniture, you tell yourself: ‘That’s it, that’s the last sofa I’m gonna need. Whatever else Authentic Kris Versteeg Youth Jersey happens, I’ve got that sofa problem handled.’” Cricket teams are constructed in a similar way. We have the same nesting instinct, to build a team piece by piece. It came to mind again after Toby Roland-Jones’s wonderful debut at The Oval. Whatever else happens, England have got that backup third-seamer problem handled. 广告 Moeen Ali: ‘If it wasn’t for cricket I don’t know what I’d be doing now’ Read more Except they haven’t. Roland-Jones could be a lot better than a backup third seamer; and a look up the order to Keaton Jennings shows the inherent folly of inking someone in after a spectacular debut. Teams are always in flux. One minute you buy a lovely new sofa; the next you notice the dining table is chipped. Sure, you can still use it, but there’s a beautiful one on offer at John Lewis … There was little logic in the idea of a permanent XI even before the international schedule became a human-rights issue. Selectors hardly ever pick the best XI for today, because they need to have half an eye on tomorrow. If you always picked the best team for the next match, you’d never give anyone a debut, because it would safer to pick somebody with Test experience. The Spin has a simple theory on this: if it’s good enough for Alex Ferguson, the greatest football manager of all time, it’s good enough for cricket. “When we won the Treble in 1999,” Ferguson said, “it wasn’t because of the XI. It was because of the pool.” Ferguson was the pioneer of rotation in this country. At first it was controversial – a local MP complained in the House of Commons when he picked Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Gary Neville to play a League Cup game at Port Vale – but after a couple of years it was the norm. Advertisement For some reason, and despite the acceptance of squad rotation in what we are contractually obliged to describe as white-ball cricket, it is taking much longer for us to accept it as part of Test cricket. It’s seven years since the old farts (and a few young ones) harrumphed over England’s decision to leave Andrew Strauss and James Anderson out of the tour of Bangladesh with a view to the following winter’s Ashes series. That turned out reasonably well. We are not advocating wholesale changes, or suggesting England should leave Anderson and Stuart Broad out of the final Test against South Africa. There are clear differences in the demands and rhythms of club football and Test cricket. There are fewer games; you are playing the same team from week to week; you can’t put your best players on the substitutes’ bench in case of emergency; and you don’t have a 25-man first-team squad. Sign up to the Spin Read more Yet the guiding principle is universal. There are clear limits to what man can endure and achieve, both physically and mentally. (We accept Adam Peaty has slightly undermined our argument in the past week.) This is particularly relevant to fast bowlers, though not exclusively: spin bowlers suffer wear and tear, as Graeme Swann will tell you, and Joe Mullen Jerseythe unique mental strain of Test cricket affects everyone. In the modern game, the best way to pick a team is surely to have one eye on today and one on tomorrow. Rest is essential for all players, and when you consider injuries – not to mention the potential demands of panto season in Bournemouth – it’s almost impossible to stick with the same team. Even the 2005 Ashes winners, an XI everyone can name, only played four Tests together. The Manchester United team that won the Champions League final against Chelsea in 2008 never started a match before or after; Ferguson came up with a bespoke solution for a bespoke problem. Instead of wondering what happens to Roland-Jones when Chris Woakes is fit, we should be happy that England have strengthened an already decent pool of fast bowlers. They will need them in Australia. The key to a change of mindset is to de-stigmatise being omitted, and phase out words and phrases like “dropped” and “axed”. What next: Jennings has been guillotined from the England team? South Africa have hung, drawn and quartered JP Duminy? The words “rotated” or “rested” are not the euphemisms they seem. Why, for example, shouldn’t Anderson be given the West Indies series off? Why couldn’t Joe Root or Ben Stokes miss a couple of Tests in the same series? You can’t measure mental fatigue but everyone suffers it, even superhero freaks like Stokes. No player would like being left out, particularly against weaker opposition. In Tests in Zimbabwe, Jacques Kallis had a batting average of 503. Who would want to miss out on that bounty? This attitude is widespread, yet it’s a clear case of putting the individual before the team, and years of watching players misuse DRS is emphatic evidence that many have little idea what is best for themselves or the team. If the players don’t like it, Anthony Scaramucci can probably advise them on what they have to do. In 1999, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four goals for Manchester United against Everton. He scored again in the next game against Valencia. Three days later he was on the bench against West Ham. He wasn’t dropped or axed. “I thought I deserved to play but he is the boss, nobody can dispute his record,” Solskjaer said. “He’s the best in the business