Australia’s selectors have opted against picking a specialist opener to replace David Warner, confirming Cameron Green will play the Adelaide Test against West Indies.
Selectors announced their 13-man squad for the two-Test series on Wednesday, ahead of the first Test which begins in Adelaide on January 17.
There is still no formal confirmation on who will open in place of the retired Warner, but Steve Smith is expected to bat alongside Usman Khawaja, with Green to slot into the side at No.4.
Matt Renshaw and Scott Boland have also been added to the squad, but will join the group late and likely act as back-up batters and bowlers.
The squad announcement makes it no clearer who’ll fill David Warner’s place opposite Usman Khawaja at the top of the batting order
All-rounder Cameron Green (pictured) has been mentioned as one of the possible replacements, even though it would be a big leap up the order for him
‘Cameron Green will come into the playing XI for the Test in Adelaide,’ chief selector George Bailey said.
‘We have selected a team we believe contains the best six batters in the country.’
That desire to pick the half-dozen leading batsmen and get allrounder Green back into the team led selectors to decide against a specialist opener.
When Warner announced his retirement plans back in June, it was expected the race to replace him was between Renshaw, Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft.
Bancroft has since piled on the most runs in the Sheffield Shield, backing up last summer’s big season for Western Australia when he also topped the charts.
But in Green Australia’s selectors see a generational talent, who also provides a genuine fifth fast-bowling option alongside Mitch Marsh and the three quicks.
Steve Smith has put his hand up to take the shine off the new ball with Khawaja, but skipper Pat Cummins isn’t a fan of the idea
Green’s return comes after he was squeezed out of the team during last year’s Ashes when Marsh scored a century while filling in for him at Headingley.
Australia’s captain Pat Cummins has warned against moving Smith up to opener to allow Green to bat at No.4, concerned the switch would cause too much disruption to the order.
But it appears increasingly likely Smith will be the man to move up, although Green is also an option to open.
Neither of the pair have previously opened in Test cricket, but Smith has put his hand up for the challenge late in his career.
Green’s addition to the team is likely to be the only change to the XI that beat Pakistan 3-0 to start the Test summer.
When it comes to the one-day squad, World Cup winner Marcus Stoinis has been dropped and Smith will captain the team after selectors opted to give Cummins and his bowling brothers a rest.
Marcus Stoinis (pictured playing in the Big Bash League) is just one of the ODI World Cup heroes to be dropped from the squad to play the Windies in the 50-over format
Wicket keeper Alex Carey, who lost his place in the national team during Australia’s World Cup triumph in India, has also been left out of the 13-player group which boasts a raft of new fast bowling talent, including ‘Wild Thing’ Lance Morris.
First-choice quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have also been given a spell with Jhye Richardson recalled and T20 regular Nathan Ellis included while all-rounder Aaron Hardie looks set to fill the Stoinis role, with Mitch Marsh among the players being “managed” by Cricket Australia.
Matt Short looks set to open the batting with Travis Head after David Warner confirmed his retirement from the format with selection chief George Bailey declaring he has one eye on the Champions Trophy in 2025.
“It is a little over 12 months until the Champions Trophy and further opportunities for the likes of Aaron Hardie, Matt Short, Jhye Richardson, and Nathan Ellis will be valuable both to our ongoing improvement as a team and also further their personal experiences in ODI cricket,” Bailey said.
AUSTRALIA SQUAD FOR WEST INDIES TEST SERIES
Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc.
AUSTRALIAN ONE-DAY SQUAD
Steve Smith (c), Travis Head (vc), Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Matt Short, Adam Zampa.