Steve Waugh calls out selectors on baffling Travis Head 'disgrace'

The former captain was just as surprised as the rest of Australia on the decision.

Cricket legend Steve Waugh (pictured left) watching on and (pictured right) Travis Head waiting to bat.
Cricket legend Steve Waugh (pictured left) questioned Travis Head's (pictured right) dropping from the Test team for the first match against India. (Getty Images)

Aussie cricket icon Steve Waugh has taken aim at the baffling decision to drop Travis Head for the first Test in Nagpur, which saw Australia skittled for a dismal 177. Australian selectors sprung a shock in India for the first Test after handing young 22-year-old spinner Todd Murphy his debut, while dropping in-form batter Head.

Head is the World No.4 batter on the ICC rankings and has arguably been Australia's best over the last 12 months. And things didn't get off to a good start for the series after Pat Cummins' team were skittled for 177 in 64 overs, before India raced to 1-76 at stumps at VCA Stadium.

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But before the drama unfolded, the selectors' decision to drop Head caused uproar. The heat was on the selectors for bringing in Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw for Cameron Green and Head for the first Test.

The reasoning behind their call could have been because Head was another left-hander and the pitch appeared to be already showing favour to Indian spinners that will target those areas. Head has also struggled in the past on the sub-continent with an average of only 21.30 from 11 innings.

Regardless, Head has averaged 87.50 in his previous five Tests for Australia and has been a rock in the middle order. Someone who knows about the importance of stabilising an innings for your team is former former Australian captain and legend Waugh. And the Aussie legend took to social media to question the move to drop Head.

"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. Plus he bowls better than average off spin - let's wait and see - maybe the Aussie selectors are geniuses," Waugh wrote. Fellow Aussie great Damien Martyn added to the post and wrote: "It's a big call and now we wait".

Head's teammate, Chad Sayyer's, took to Twitter and let rip at the decision, labelling it a 'f**king disgrace'. And he wasn't the only one absolutely baffled. The cricket world was left questioning how on earth Head wasn't granted an opportunity to prove himself in the first Test.

And the fallout to Head's absence has been swift. While Handscomb scored 31 and performed admirably in a team that was collapsing around him, Renshaw was out for a golden duck. Australia will be looking to make some inroads into the Indian line-up on day 2 with debutant Murphy the only bowler picking up a wicket.

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Handscomb put up a fight on Thursday as Australia collapsed, bundled out for 177 after winning the toss at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur. This was exacerbated when India cruised to 1-77 by stumps thanks to an unbeaten 56 from captain Rohit Sharma.

After spending more than four years out of the Test team, Handscomb said Australia would stay positive despite finding themselves in a tough position. "The morale's good," the 31-year-old said.

Travis Head (pictured left) celebrates taking a wicket.
The Aussie selectors caused a stir after dropping Travis Head (pictured left) for the first Test in India. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

"The music was back on straight after we walked back in. The feeling in this group coming back in is really nice and seems really calm.

"No matter what happens on the field, when you walk back into the dressing room at the end of the day it's the same emotions no matter what. Try and stay nice and level about the whole thing no matter what happens out there. Yes, it's not how we wanted to start the series, but by all means we're still in this game."

with AAP

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