Several batsmen right on the selection bubble for this summer’s Test cricket have done themselves huge favours in the latest Sheffield Shield fixtures.
Several batsmen right on the selection bubble for this summer’s Test cricket have done themselves huge favours in the latest Sheffield Shield fixtures, but there simply isn’t room for all of them in the starting XI.
Three former and one current Australian Test players recorded centuries for their respective states in the past couple of days: Moises Henriques for NSW, Peter Handscomb for Victoria, Cameron Green for Western Australia, and most notably, Travis Head blasting a double century for South Australia.
Head’s sparkling form will no doubt have turned a few heads, as he leads all players in Shield runs this summer.
In limited opportunities at the top level, Head has shown glimpses of his talent, average 39.75 with two centuries – but was dropped ahead of the third Test this past summer, recording scores of 7, 38, and 17 in his three trips to the crease.
A call-up for Henriques would be a brilliant comeback story for one of NSW’s most consistent players at that level, who played three Tests in India in 2013 and one in Sri Lanka in 2016. After a brilliant debut where he scored 68 and 81 not out, he failed to pass single digits in any of his subsequent six outings.
Young gun Green showed promise with a few decent starts in the recent series against India, but with critics demanding more, answered back this week with that sparkling knock, which came in response to Head’s first innings 223.
With David Warner, Steve Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne considered locks and Will Pucovski a probable, just two spots remain in the top six – one of whom is currently Green, who posted 168 not out over the weekend.
With Matthew Wade sent to play T20s in New Zealand instead of travelling with the Test side to South Africa (before the series was postponed), it seems likely that he will be moved on after a disappointing summer against India.
Henriques, Head, and Green were all in that squad, before returning to play for their states – but it seems likely that every Test hopeful will have another six months to prove themselves.
CURRENT SHEFFIELD SHIELD RUN LEADERS
- Travis Head – 693 in 10 innings (77)
- Shaun Marsh – 554 in 8 innings (79.14)
- Moises Henriques – 549 in 9 innings (68.62)
- Cameron Green – 531 in 8 innings (88.50)
- Will Pucovski – 495 in 3 innings (247.50)
The outside chance to be crowned inaugural Test Champions is a tantalising prospect for the Aussies, who have several question marks in the batting order.
Unless there’s a shock result in the final match between India and England, which starts on Thursday, Australia will not play five-day cricket again between now and a one-off Test against Afghanistan in November, which will serve as a warm-up for the Ashes shortly after.
If England can cause an upset and draw the series 2-2, Australia will leapfrog India in the Test Championship ladder and play New Zealand in June for the right to be called the best team in the world.
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