Australia men’s cricket team coach Justin Langer has decided to go ahead with Joe Burns as the opener in the first Test of the four-match series against India. His decision is likely to keep Will Puckovski waiting for his debut.
“We can’t underestimate the stability in the team, we are the number one ranked team in the world. A lot of that has to do with the partnership between David Warner and Joe Burns,” he was quoted as saying by Channel Nine.
Pucovski, who is among the five uncapped players named in the 17-man squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, has made a strong case for selection in the playing XI with back-to-back double centuries for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield. Right-handed Queensland batsman Burns, however, has had a highest of just 29 in his five innings this season.
Earlier, former Australia captain Mark Taylor had said that Pucovski should replace Burns for the much-anticipated clash against Virat Kohli’s men.
“The only person out of 12 I would pick would be Will Pucovski and leave Joe Burns out. Burns averages 38 in Test cricket, been a solid cricket player for Australia without being a great one. I think it is time to play young Pucovski. He has said he is ready. He has made two double hundreds. Pick him in the eleven because he has the potential to be the player for the next decade,” Taylor was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Pucovski, himself, has stated that he has done a lot of hard work and is ready to make his Test debut, compared to couple of seasons ago when he was selected for the Sri Lanka tour but had opted out citing mental health concerns.
“It’s something I’m really excited for, and people have their different journeys and mine’s taken a different path, but two years down the track from Sri Lanka when I was just about to turn 21, I feel like I’ve put in a mountain of work and that’s been to achieve my goal of hopefully succeeding and playing for Australia. So, if the opportunity comes, I definitely think I’m ready,” the right-handed batsman had told SEN Radio.
“I feel like I’m in a much better place to take the opportunity if it presents itself now than I may have been a couple of years ago,” he had added.
India’s tour of Australia will kick off with the ODI series from November 27. It will be followed by the three-match T20I series from December 4 before the Virat Kohli-led team begins the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17.
The first Test at Adelaide will be India’s first day-nigt Test outside home soil. It will also be skipper Virat Kohli’s only appearance in all-whites in Australia this time as he would return to India on a paternity leave after the opener.
Kohli had already informed the BCCI about his wish to return to India to unite with his wife Anushka Sharma. They are expecting their first child in January next year.
The day-night Test will be followed by Tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).