Aussie cricket great Mark Taylor has called on selectors to bring Travis Head back into the side to face India in the second Test. Despite being the No.4-ranked batter in world cricket, Head was controversially left out of the XI for the first Test in Nagpur.
Australia went on to lose the match by an innings and 132 runs after capitulating in an embarrassing second innings to be all out for 91. Matt Renshaw, who kept his place in the side at the expense of Head, made a first-ball duck and 2.
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Speaking ahead of the second Test in Delhi starting on Friday, Taylor urged selectors to bring Head back in despite his underwhelming record in Asia - where he averages just over 20. "The only way you really get better playing in those sort of conditions is (by) getting out there and doing it," Taylor told 2GB's Wide World of Sports radio.
"Now Travis Head's 29 years old, so he's probably in the prime of his career right now. So, what we need is Travis Head to be getting used to these sort of conditions.
"I suspect he was left out of the team because of his form last year against Pakistan in three Test matches and two Test matches against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka ... that's probably why they left him out. But he won't get any better unless he plays in India and learns the softness, learns to play a bit more like we saw from Labuschagne and from Steve Smith, who play later, play (by) watching the ball underneath the eyes a lot more. It's a different technique. It is different to how Travis Head normally plays."
Reports emerged on Monday that Aussie selectors were considering bringing Head back in at the top of the order for David Warner, who also has a similar sub-par record on the sub-continent. But according to Taylor, the 36-year-old Warner deserves at least one more chance.
“David’s been around long enough, and I know he’s had plenty of opportunities [but] I think you’ve got to give him at least the next Test match to get it right,” he told Wide World of Sports. “As Warner and Usman Khawaja found out, they bat at the top of the order and faced Ravi Ashwin with the new ball, and then four overs later got Ravi Jadeja. So it doesn’t really matter where you bat; you’re going to face the same stuff. So I would be sticking with the top two at the moment.”
Travis Head axing labelled 'disgrace'
Fellow former Aussie captain Steve Waugh was among the many to question Head's omission from the first Test. "Hard to believe we can drop the No.4 ranked Test batsman in the world and probably our best batsman in the last 12 months," Waugh wrote on Instagram. "Plus he bowls better than average off spin - let's wait and see - maybe the Aussie selectors are geniuses."
Chads Sayers, Head's former teammate at South Australia, described his axing as a 'disgrace', however Ricky Ponting wasn't that surprised given Head struggled in Pakistan and Sri Lanka last year. “The more I thought about it, the fact that they played Matt Renshaw in Sydney to me meant they probably had other plans in mind for him,” Ponting told the ICC Review podcast.
“Obviously, the most immediate plan was for him to bat in the middle order for Australia in this Test series against India. When you look at that, if they’re going to keep him in, they couldn’t really afford to keep Travis Head in either because then they would have five left-handers in their top seven.”
Renshaw could be on the chopping block for the second Test in Delhi, with all-rounder Cameron Green pushing to prove his fitness after suffering a fractured thumb in the Aussie Test summer. Green would come in for either Renshaw or Peter Handscomb in a move that could allow Australia to play three spinners given he can serve as the second paceman alongside Pat Cummins.
I look forward to the press conference when Andrew McDonald and George Bailey explain why they left Travis Head out of the team
Imagine if Justin Langer did this….
— Tom Rockliff (@rockwiz38) February 11, 2023
— Blue, Green & Gold Hornet (@BGG_Hornet) February 9, 2023
Travis Head not getting picked is an absolute disgrace. What the actual #AUSvIND
— Joel Robinson (@joelyrobbo) February 9, 2023
MANNNNN RHENSHAW OUT HERE BOWLING 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 my god what are we doing! This is embarrassing. Where is Travis head! #INDvAUS
— lucas (@LucasR32sky) February 10, 2023
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