Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh feels skipper Tim Paine could be the team’s answer to its concerns at the top of the order in the upcoming series-opening day-night Test against India. Days before the four-match series begins in Adelaide on December 17, Australia are grappling with a spate of injuries to top players such as David Warner. Joe Burns’ woeful run has only added to their worries.
“I thought of a left-field suggestion just out the back before. I’m going with Tim Paine to open the batting,” Waugh said on Fox Cricket during Sunday’s Big Bash League (BBL) match between the Sixers and the Renegades.
One of the most elegant batsmen of his time, Waugh also said he would prefer both Matthew Wade and Cameron Green in the Australian line-up, with Marcus Harris partnering Paine at the top of the order.
“I’m going to have Wade and Green both make the side. Paine and Harris opening the batting. He’s opened in first class cricket. Solid player.”
Exploring the option of sending in Marnus Labuschagne or Shaun Marsh as opener is only going to be a short-term solution, according to Waugh.
“The other choices, you’ve got Shaun Marsh, (Usman) Khawaja, Wade to open maybe as well.
“And you could push Labuschagne up to open. It’s only going to be a short-term fix.
“On this occasion, there’s just so many moving parts with injuries and players in and out of form, it’s a gamble whoever you go with.”
World number one Australia will be without the swashbuckling David Warner for the first Test due to a groin injury and his likely replacement, Will Pucovski, has also been ruled out due to concussion.
Harris has since been called up to the Test squad and looks likely to take one of the opening slots.
But Burns’ lack of form has been a cause for real concern for the Australians as his poor run also stretched to the tour games against the visiting Indians.
While batting great Allan Border has already said Burns cannot play in Adelaide, former fast bowler Brett Lee said, “I don’t think they’ll go with Burns because of those failures.
“If it was failures against a Shield team it’s different, but because it’s against India, I don’t think they’ll go with him.”