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Melbourne, Australia – In what is being interpreted as a calculated effort to deflect criticism away from their selection panel, Cricket Australia have called on supporters of the national side to “give rotation policy jokes a much needed rest.”

Quips, droll asides and obscene limericks about Australia’s ‘no two teams the same’ selection policy have been a regular feature in cricket stands and living rooms throughout the international summer but today’s call for clemency still came as a surprise.

Cricket Australia’s head of communication, Mike Turnbull, explained their position.

“For much of the past twenty years Australia has had a number of world-class cricket jokes available for use at the opposition’s expense, but since England became competitive in the Ashes a lot of our most consistent material has had to be retired. As a nation, we now have to rely on a limited selection of hard-working, if less effective, gags. But these jokes, particularly the ones about our rotation policy, are in danger of being overused. We understand the public want to see the best possible Australian rotation policy jokes being fielded in every game, but the risk of using a joke that’s not 100% fresh is that the punch line collapses at the point of delivery, making it unusable for weeks, possibly months afterwards. That’s why we’re asking the public to rest rotation policy jokes for the final ODI of the summer.”

Jason Harris, owner of refusetowalk.au, is one of a number of bloggers unhappy with Cricket Australia’s stance.

“Hammering a reference into the ground is a fundamental principle of cricket blogging. I appreciate modern Australian cricket jokes are too weak to stand up to regular use but what are we supposed to do, think of something original to say? Not going to happen!”

Newspaper back pages have also been dominated by the issue with The Herald Sun speculating that the ‘Steve Harmison first-ball wide’ joke could be making a comeback from retirement.

However, Cricket Australia were quick to rebuff the suggestion.

“Look, we’re all nostalgic for 2006/07. Back then an Australian cricket joke would be effective day-in, day-out, without ever seeming to run out of steam. But we have to admit that there was a reason we retired jokes about Steve Harmison, and that reason is Mitchell Johnson.”

The final one-day international of the Australian summer is scheduled for Wednesday. Australia’s team will be selected from draw machine ‘Guinevere’ using set of balls 3.