Michael Clarke's controversial call on David Warner and Travis Head for Ashes
The former Test captain has gone against the grain with his choice for opener against England.
So Travis Head is a lock to open the batting in this year's Ashes series after producing the goods in India? Not so fast, according to former Test skipper Michael Clarke.
Clarke has cast doubts over Head's ability to handle the extra seam and swing facing the new ball in England and wants David Warner to resume his position in what he believes could be his old teammate's final appearance in the baggy green.
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That's despite the veteran's batting decline over the past few years and Head's impressive form when thrust into the opening role for the injured Warner in India. Speaking on Sky Sports Radio, Clarke said: "I'm 100 per cent taking him (Warner) to England and he's playing the first Test match.
"I'm saying 'mate, you're a massive player for us in this Ashes series, you can win us this series'. I'm pumping his tyres, I'm making sure he's fit, he's healthy, he's playing his best cricket, he's prepared.
"He's got the Test Championship (against India in June) as an opportunity to gets runs under his belt in those conditions and then let him go in the first Test. I'd think Davey might retire after the Ashes but I'd be giving him a crack. Go and dominate and take them on and if he doesn't perform, then you can drop him.
"Travis Head is locked in at number five. Travis Head is not opening the batting in England conditions – no way."
Michael Clarke wants Travis Head to stay in middle order
Clarke conceded Head was a viable option if Warner doesn’t produce runs in England but is still not fully convinced that's the way Australia should go. He wants a regular opener to take Warner's spot if - or when - the 36-year-old exits the side.
"(Head's) not a bad Plan B if Davey doesn’t perform but I think (Matt) Renshaw is a better opener in Test cricket than he is in the middle order," Clarke said. "And I think Travis Head is going to be a much better middle order player for Australia than top order in all the conditions around the world.
"I'd be backing the experienced Dave Warner to come good when we need him (and) I would be backing those senior players for this big series. If they don't perform then, like every player, you can drop them."
Head scored 235 in six visits to the crease in India, peeling off scores of 43, 9, 49 not out, 32 and 90 when moved to opener in Warner's absence. The first Ashes Test will start June 16 at Edgbaston.
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