Mark Waugh has called for Cameron Green to be given the opportunity as Australia's next Test opener when David Warner retires. Warner will call time on his Test cricket at the end of the series against Pakistan beginning in Perth on Thursday, and the Australian great wants to see the West Australian get the call-up.
Specialist openers Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft and Matthew Renshaw were all in somewhat of a bat-off for the opener spot in the Prime Minister’s XI match against Pakistan in Canberra last week. While one of them is expected to be Warner's replacement in the series against the West Indies in January, Green as well as all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and Marnus Labuschagne have all been floated as other opening possibilities.
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Waugh believes the Australian selectors are not confident that Harris, Bancroft or Renshaw are long-term solutions as they have all been given a chance in the side in the past. He says Usman Khawaja will also likely retire in the next couple of years and that selectors must look to the future.
"Who's going to be opening the batting with Usman Khawaja? And he’s probably not going to be around that long either," Waugh told Fox Sports Australia. "But assuming he’s still there, I guess there’s the choice of Bancroft, Harris or Renshaw, they’re the three that I guess you think of foremost. And probably Bancroft has had the best form in the last 12 to 15 months at first-class level. But I’m not sure the selectors are totally sold on all or any of those. I just think that they may be looking elsewhere."
Waugh says Green should be given the opportunity to open, noting that he averages more than 50 in the middle order for his state and made just shy of that in the PM XI match. The Australian great says Green has faced the new ball at No.6 for Australia and should get his chance. "I'd be seriously thinking of getting Cameron Green in to open the batting," Waugh said.
“I want him in the team because he just offers so much. He gives great balance because he bowls ten to 15 good hours, he’s a great fieldsman and I think his batting, he hasn’t quite nailed it yet, but when I (have) seen him, he’s got a good technique and he plays fast bowling well. And he’s batted at six so far and often you get the second new ball at six, so … I just think it could be a bit of a Shane Watson-type situation, so I’d seriously be looking at him, because I want him in the team. At the moment Mitch Marsh has obviously nailed that spot that he was in, so that’d be the way I’d possibly go."
Andrew McDonald believes Green could make a successful switch to opener
Australian cricket coach Andrew McDonald has backed Green to make a successful move up the order. McDonald believes the towering allrounder could be given the chance to open in the West Indies series.
"What does Cam Green’s future look like in the Test team? Is it a matter of waiting for Mitch to finish or could there be another spot that opens up over time?" McDonald told SEN Radio last month. “He has batted at six for most of his Test cricket, but he has been a fantastic No.4 for WA and averages close to 50 in Shield cricket. There is always the idea that you can potentially shift the order to make room to put your best six batters, or what you see as the best six batters, in a certain order, and we have seen that in Australian cricket before.
"David Boon went from three to opening. Justin Langer went from three to opening. Shane Watson went from six to opening. So there has been the ability to reshuffle and for that to be successful. But we will leave that to the first Test match in Perth."
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