Steve Smith set to be rejected as Pat Cummins makes telling call on next Test opener

The Aussie captain isn't as keen as his teammate on the idea.

Steve Smith embraces David Warner and Pat Cummins at the toss.
Pat Cummins (pictured right) doesn't appear keen to reshuffle the order after Steve Smith said he was open to the role of moving up the order after David Warner's departure. (Getty Images)

A shock contender emerged as the new Aussie opener after David Warner's farewell with Steve Smith open to the role, but captain Pat Cummins isn't keen on shuffling the batting order. Warner's retirement Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground officially brought to an end a glittering 112 Test match career.

Australia has been settled at the top of the order for a number of years, but Warner's departure has left former Aussie cricketers weighing-in on who should fill the gap. Former captain Ricky Ponting called for the in-form Cameron Bancroft to get another shot opening the batting for Australia.

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While calls are also growing for Cameron Green to return to the starting XI as an opener. Both these options would mean the batting order would stay the same. However, Smith threw a curveball when he claimed he would welcome the challenge of moving up the order.

“I’m actually happy to go up the top,” Smith said on Friday. “I’m sure the selectors and Ron (coach Andrew McDonald) and Patty (Pat Cummins) will have a chat after this game, but I am certainly interested. For sure.”

But after Smith signalled he would be welcome to the challenge, captain Cummins appeared to try and squash the idea. Cummins claimed he isn't keen on shuffling the order, with Australia currently the World No.1 team and on top of the Test Championship leaderboard.

"I'm pretty happy with (Smith)'s output at No.4," Cummins said. "Obviously Marnus, Smudge (Smith), Trav and Marsh have been pretty impressive at No.3, No.4, No.5 and No.6. So first instinct isn't probably to disrupt that."

Both Smith and Marnus Labuschagne have dropped down the Test batting rankings after a below-par 2023 season. Smith only scored one half-century against Pakistan in the series and would have been frustrated with his performance. However, he will have another chance to find form when Australia take on the West Indies in a two-Test match series.

Steve Smith walks off the field.
Steve Smith (pictured) put his hand up to open after David Warner's departure, but it appears Pat Cummins is not keen on the move. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Aussie coach quells idea of Steve Smith opening

Cummins wasn't the only one to dismiss the idea of Smith moving up the order. Coach Andrew McDonald liked the balance in the batting line-up as it stands. "(Steve) had some strong thoughts, he's made those public. So we'll consider all options," McDonald added after Australia's eight-wicket win over Pakistan at the SCG.

"It's nice to have him putting his hand up. I think there were a few others that weren't putting their hand up. But Steve at No.3 or No.4 is pretty appetising also. You've got to make sure you're not removing the strengths of the team in the search to fill a gap also. So there's a balance within that."

Reports suggest Marcus Harris has emerged as the frontrunner between him and Bancroft to win the position against the West Indies if Australia chooses a specialist opener. However, the of bringing Green back into the team also will come into the decision with many feeling the allrounder is the future of the Aussie squad.

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