Australia News – Usman Khawaja warns against moving Marnus Labuschagne higher after David Warner exits – LSB

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Khawaja was asked about the concept of switching Labuschagne to open the batting when Warner vacates the role later this summer when his Test career ends, which is likely to be after the third Test against Pakistan in Sydney in the New Year. The idea was mooted by Australia coach Andrew McDonald last week as a way to bring Cameron Green back into the team to play alongside current player Mitchell Marsh.

Khawaja insisted that Labuschagne should remain at number three given his success in that role, and said he was wary of messing with it too much given the difficulty of opening the batting.

“Did you ask Marnus this? I think he would give you a very clear answer: no,” Khawaja said. “Marnus got sore in the opener. I’m sure Davey Warner hurt his arm and sent Alex Carey in to open. I think that’s a long shot.

“Opening is not easy. It is hard work. I can tell you that because I fought back [No.]1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 for Australia. I’m telling you that opening is the hardest and it is very difficult to bring in someone who has not opened.

“I’m sure if you put Marnus there in the opener he will do very well. But will he do as well in the opener as he does in the third? I’m not sure.

“I don’t want to risk it [given he’s] Average 55 [56.81] At the age of three, Steve Smith averages 60 years [58.61] Generally. So you won’t want to mess with it too much.

“Opening can be very difficult mentally more than physically, so I’m always a little shy about not letting people who haven’t opened much in the past open at-bats.”

He also shot down the idea of ​​Travis Head moving permanently to opener after he was used as a temporary opener in the Test series in India earlier this year when Warner was injured.

“He did well at number five,” Khawaja said. “There’s no point in switching people around. We’ve got too many openings to choose from. I don’t see any point in switching players around for that. I think people are talking about that because of Mitch Marsh and Cameron Green. But I think they’ll go to the same place.” . So decide who is the best player for that match at that time and then worry about the rest of the team.”

Khawaja’s argument runs counter to his shift from being No. 3 at Test level to becoming an opener. Khawaja did not open the batting in his first 31 Test innings over five years at the start of his career before making a century in his first opening innings in Test cricket, which came due to David Warner being unable to open due to being out. For a very long time in the day-night Test against South Africa in 2016.

Al Khawaja opened 15 times in first-class cricket before that century but had never reached 50 in an innings. Since then he has become one of the most successful openers in the history of Test matches. He has gained more exposure at first-class level, opening for Australia A on a tour of India in 2018 leading to success as a Test opener in the UAE in 2018 before later taking Marcus Harris’ place at the end of the 2021-22 season. Ashes series after two centuries in Sydney Test batting at No. 5.

Another irony is that Khawaja is not currently opening for his home state side Queensland in the Sheffield Shield, instead batting at number four to allow Matt Renshaw, one of the openers vying for the soon-to-be-vacant Test spot, to open the field. beating. Former Test opener Joe Burns and Price Street opened instead alongside Renshaw while Khawaja finished fourth.

But despite not being a specialist, Khawaja believes one of the three specialist openers in the frame to open in the Test team – Renshaw, Harris and Cameron Bancroft – should be selected when Warner is finished.

He said he had an opinion on which player was the best of the three but would not reveal it and was not asked to provide the Australian selectors’ preferred future partner.

Al-Khawaja said, “It won’t matter anyway even if they ask me. I will tell them to choose whoever you think is the best.”

“I’m not willing to talk about it, to be honest. I think there’s a lot of things that go into it. I’m not privy to watching all these guys and all their hitting. To be honest, even if I think one was better than the other it’s so small that maybe “It doesn’t matter. I think the three guys vying to open the batting deserve it. For me, it’s very easy to sit back and say take your pick.”

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