Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has suggested national selectors could kill two birds with one stone by selecting Matthew Wade as an opening batsman for the first Test match against India.
Injuries to David Warner and Will Pucovski has caused a selection quandary ahead of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Warner injured his groin during Australia’s second ODI against India, and has been officially withdrawn from the first Test at Adelaide.
Meanwhile, Pucovski was struck in the head by a bouncer during a tour match against India A, and remains in serious doubt for next week’s series opener.
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There is only one other recognised opening batsman in the 16-player Test squad — Queenslander Joe Burns.
Although Burns has four Test centuries to his name, the 31-year-old has struggled to rediscover his form with the bat this season, averaging 8.71 in first-class cricket.
Australia’s Joe Burns.Source: News Corp Australia
Despite calls for a former Test opener to be added to the squad — potentially Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja or Marcus Harris — Clarke believes Wade could open the batting and temporarily resolve the issue.
If Wade was promoted up the order, it would leave a vacant spot in the starting XI for West Australian prodigy Cameron Green to make his Test debut.
“If you’re going to pick Cameron Green then you’ve got to find another spot for Wadey,” Clarke told AAP.
“He’s got to be in that starting XI but again, that could be anywhere in that team.
“That could be opening the batting if need be. I think Wadey can do that.”
Although Wade is not regarded as an opener in the game’s longest format, the 32-year-old has batted at No. 3 for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield.
However, former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has called for national selectors to play if safe and name the in-form Harris to partner with Burns.
Marcus Harris of Australia A.Source: Getty Images
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“I suspect Marcus Harris might have frontrunning for that spot,” Gilchrist said at the Fox Cricket’s BBL season launch on Wednesday.
“Marcus Harris has had some Test experience, and he’s done a lot right in the Shield season, so he’s probably warranted serious consideration.
“I don’t think we’re bereft of strong option — it’s just trying to work out which is the correct one.”
The first Test between Australia and India commenced on Thursday, December 17th at Adelaide Oval.