Green to play against West Indies, Renshaw recalled for Australia
SYDNEY, Australia (AFP)— Australian allrounder Cameron Green will start the first Test against the West Indies, selectors said Wednesday, but who replaces David Warner as opener remains to be seen.
Warner bowed out of the five-day game at the weekend after the last Test against Pakistan in Sydney, having been a fixture at the top of the order for 12 years.
Recognised openers Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw were long seen as the main contenders to fill the role, until Steve Smith last week said he wanted to do the job.
Renshaw was handed a Test lifeline as the only change in a 13-man squad for the two-Test series starting on January 17 in Adelaide, leaving Bancroft and Harris out in the cold.
But chief selector George Bailey said Green, who has been forced out of the side in recent times by a resurgent Mitchell Marsh, would definitely play.
That would either see him open the innings or more likely come in at four, where he usually plays for Western Australia.
That scenario would allow Smith to open, with local media widely reporting that Renshaw would be the reserve batter.
Neither Green nor Smith have previously opened in Test cricket.
“Cameron Green will come into the playing XI for the Test in Adelaide in a squad also containing Scott Boland and Matthew Renshaw,” said Bailey.
“We have selected a team we believe contains the best six batters in the country.”
Renshaw’s inclusion is a big blow for Bancroft, who is the leading run-scorer in Sheffield Shield over the last two seasons. At 27, Renshaw is four years younger.
Whether pace spearheads Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, who played all three Tests against Pakistan, can back up for another two is another unknown
If selectors decide to rest one of them, Boland will step in.
Selectors also named a 13-man squad for the one-day series against the West Indies that follows the Tests, with Cummins rested and Smith taking over as captain.
Marsh, Starc, and Hazlewood will also sit out the three games
“The squad strikes a balance between players continuing to make their mark on international cricket, playing alongside some of our most experienced players with an eye to the future in this format,” said Bailey of the one-day squad.
Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchel Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc
Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (capt), Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Lance Morris, Jhye Richardson, Matt Short, Adam Zampa