Australia’s men’s Test coach has given the biggest indication yet that axed allrounder Cameron Green could be in line to replace David Warner at the top of the order when he retires.
David Warner is one Test away from retirement, having flagged mid-year that, should he make it to Sydney for the final match of the Benaud-Qadir series against Pakistan, his red-ball career would end there.
It has sparked months-long debate over who his heir apparent will be, with Warner having occupied one of the openers’ positions for 111 Tests since 2011.
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Cameron Bancroft has been banging the door down for a Test recall with 512 runs from just nine innings for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield competition, while Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are also in the mix, having been in and around the squad as spare batters in recent years.
But after a selection meeting on Saturday, head coach McDonald hinted that Green has not been ruled out to leapfrog all three of the aforementioned players — all of whom specialise as openers for their states — despite never batting at the top of the order in red-ball cricket.
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Cameron Green could find his way back into the Test team at the top of the order. Credit: Daniel Pockett – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Imag
Green starred during a brief cameo as an opener for Australia in a T20 series in India in 2022, but has spent most of his Shield career batting at No.4 for WA, and has mainly batted at No.6 in his 24 Tests for Australia.
That doesn’t mean he can’t move up the order at the highest level though, according to McDonald.
“All angles will be considered. There’s four people that are being discussed, and they’ll be the ones who are taking up our time as we lead into that West Indies game,” McDonald said on ABC radio.
“In the last 30 years, I think there’s been 30-odd openers, and 50 per cent of them have come from a non-traditional opening background.
“If that’s anything to go by, there is the potential to be able to rejig your order.
“That’s not to dismiss the value of a tried and tested opener who’s done it over a period of time.
“We’ll consider all those options and angles and work out what that looks like for us.”
Green gave up his spot in the Test team to Mitch Marsh during this year’s Ashes series due to injury. He was brought straight back in when fit, but later omitted when Marsh, who made a swash-buckling hundred at Headingly on return, cemented the allrounder’s position with irresistible form.
Marsh himself has publicly stated he has no interest in moving up the order to open the batting, having excelled at No.6 since Headingly, while Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head are seen as other unlikely options to be able to fill the role.
McDonald said the Aussie team’s strength was in its flexibility.
“I think the way this team operates … if they were asked to do something, they’d jump at it for the team. It’s a pretty selfless group,” he said.
“It’s always going to be a pretty difficult one to move players who have been successful in positions, and that’s the juggling act that — if we were to potentially consider Green — we’d have to work through.”