Question are being asked as to why Cameron Green didn't bowl on the first day of the Prime Minister's XI game against Pakistan, amid calls for Mitch Marsh to be promoted to open the batting in the Test side when David Warner retires. Green lost his spot in the Test team to Marsh during the Ashes earlier this year and is pushing for a recall for the first Test against Pakistan next week.
So it was a big surprise to commentators when the all-rounder didn't bowl on Wednesday. Mark Steketee, Nathan McAndrew, Jordan Buckingham, Todd Murphy, Beau Webster and Nathan McSweeney all got a bowl - but not Green.
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"Maybe he is playing this game as a batter but if something were to happen to Mitch Marsh between now and this next Test, he's playing," Brad McNamara said on Fox Cricket's coverage. "Surely you'd want a few overs under your belt. I always thought you're at more risk of injury the less you bowl."
Brendon Julian agreed, saying: "I think you're spot on. I'm not saying he needs to bowl a lot of overs but if he comes out and bowls two short spells, take two or three wickets, he looks impressive, then selectors will look at that.
"He would've done a lot of bowling in the nets probably, over there at the World Cup, but basically hasn't played too much. I'd love to have him and Mitch Marsh in the same side, and I know that's a tricky one to balance the batting lineup ... I think moving forward having both of them in the side makes the team better."
Julian then floated the idea of Marsh opening the batting when Warner steps away from Test cricket. Warner is planning to play the first three Tests of the summer before farewelling fans in front of his home crowd in Sydney.
"It's not the wildest thought to have two all-rounders in the side, just because Mitch Marsh is in the side doesn't mean he can't break into it and Marsh stay there as well, moving forward," he said. "I think Cam Green is looking at himself, he's got to get in the side as a batting all-rounder, a bit like Mitch Marsh. If you're batting six for Australia and you're an all-rounder, you've got to score runs.
"I think those two guys in the Test side, that'd be a great team. I know that we've always traditionally gone you have to have an opener as an opener, and I get it. But I don't think it's totally out of the question."
Shan Masood scores big century ahead of first Test
Meanwhile, new Pakistan captain Shan Masood laid down a warning to Australia ahead of the first Test, cruising to 156 not out as the tourists finished day one of the PM's XI game at 6-324. Buckingham was the pick of the PM's bowlers and finished with 3-63 off 17 overs - just days after being called into the side to replace the injured Michael Neser.
Abdullah Shafique said Masood's knock inspired the rest of the team. "As a senior batter you need to step up for your team … he did, and this is a confidence-boosting thing for all of the team," he told reporters. "He played a brilliant innings, there is something for us all to learn as a batter from his innings. This momentum is good for today, but we will have to keep improving things."
Buckingham agreed, declaring Masood's innings was "flawless". He said: "He played brilliantly, the wicket was obviously conducive to batting but he's still got to get out there and get the runs. For him to barely give us a chance, it was an outstanding innings and he'd be in for a pretty good summer."
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 6, 2023
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