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Will Steve Smith open the batting for Australia in Tests?

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Last Updated on 6 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: Will Steve Smith open the batting for Australia in Tests? | Steve Smith considered for opening slot in the Australia team

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Steve Smith and all-rounder Cameron Green are considered the two frontrunners to replace David Warner as Australia’s Test opener. The decision is likely to be made on Tuesday evening (9th January).

During the third Test against Pakistan, Smith expressed his desire to move to the top of the order. “I’m actually happy to go up the top,” said Smith to ABC Grandstand. “I’m pretty keen if that’s what they want to do.”

A move away from number four for Smith has caused debate. Some believe it could be the spark he needs after a bit of a lean run in recent times. Since the start of the 2023 Ashes, Smith has scored 567 runs at an average of 37.8, well below his superb career average. “If he [Smith] wants to open the batting and they give him the chance, he’ll be the No. 1 Test opener within 12 months,” Michael Clarke said to ESPN’s Around The Wicket show.

However, others, including former opener Matthew Hayden, believe Smith should stay at four. “I just can’t see how strategically that [Smith opening] is going to work for Cricket Australia. They will need someone more concrete than that,” Hayden said.

“When you look at the success over the last two years of this Test team, it’s been based on a very solid foundation. It’s been such a key structure – that number one to four set in stone has been gold for Cricket Australia.

“I feel it’s not the story. The story is who is going to be the next Australian opener that they’ll pick.”

Steve Smith a chance to open the batting for Australia in Test cricket

Hayden believes Matt Renshaw is the best candidate to replace Warner in Tests. At 27, he is approaching what should be his peak period. Also, all but one player in the Australia Test side (Labuschagne) is under 30 years of age, so Renshaw could be a longer-term option.

However, the rumours are that Smith and Green are the leading contenders, even though Pat Cummins hinted he was against it during the third Test. “Obviously Marnus [Labuschagne], Smudge [Smith], Trav [Head] and [Mitchell] Marsh have been pretty impressive at Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6. So first instinct isn’t probably to disrupt that,” he said.

Should Australia go with either option – even with Green never opening in First Class cricket – it would mean Cameron Bancroft misses out. The opener has been superb in Sheffield Shield cricket, averaging well over 50 in the past two seasons (including the current 2023/24 campaign). Marcus Harris has averages in the 30s in the same period, while Renshaw is averaging 31.63 this season.

The first Test against the West Indies begins on January 17 at the Gabba. Australia are hot favourites to take the series 2-0 which will further solidify their position at the top of the World Test Championship table.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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