In Test cricket, determining the batting order comes down to two options – picking openers, a pseudo opener at first drop with the technique to handle the moving ball, and then ordering the rest of the team from best to worst. Marnus Labuschagne is a great fit for the No.3 spot. He could potentially open if Australia chooses that route following David Warner’s retirement. However, it’s unwise to weaken one position to strengthen another. Australia coach Andrew McDonald has suggested elevating Labuschagne to partner Usman Khawaja at the top of the order. This would shift Steve Smith to three to make room for Cameron Green in the middle order.

The Australian team would then have Travis Head at five and Mitchell Marsh at six, with Alex Carey followed by the tail. This set-up could work in theory, but it disregards the tradition of Test cricket requiring specialist openers. The first two players don’t have to be old-fashioned, dour operators, but they should be accustomed to batting against the shiny red ball from the start of their innings. Regardless of being an attacking option like Warner or an accumulator like Khawaja, it’s a daunting role at the highest level.

McDonald’s comments on SEN Radio might dash the hopes of Matt Renshaw, Cameron Bancroft, and Marcus Harris in the race for the opener position. With Warner set to retire, the next opener will have an easy road into the role with two Tests against a West Indies side that might not be much better than a Sheffield Shield outfit.

For Renshaw, Harris, and Bancroft, McDonald’s comments are clear indicators that they don’t rank among the top six batters in Australia. On the idea of having Labuschagne switch to opening, he cites previous examples of Australian players who have successfully transitioned to opening. However, whether Labuschagne could replicate his success at No.3 in the opening role is questionable. Khawaja, who has batted at various positions for Australia, emphasized the difficulty of opening and expressed doubts about Labuschagne’s ability to perform as well in that role. He believes that Australia has many other openers to choose from.

Labuschagne started his career as an opener in Queensland, however, he struggled and got dropped from the team. After regaining his spot, he eventually built a case for Test selection. His success at No.3 suggests that trying to convert him to an opener might not be the right move. Overall, opening in Test cricket is a challenging position that requires specific skills, and it’s crucial to have specialist openers in the team.

By admin