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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Ruthven

Selectors should reward best Shield performers: Hussey

Former Australian cricketer and recent Hall of Fame inductee Mike Hussey says selecting an opener based on Shield form will positively reinforce the competition’s value.  

 

With David Warner’s retirement at the SCG against Pakistan, Australian Selectors are being forced to look to the future and decide who will fill the gap left at the top of the order.  

 

The squad for the two-test series against West Indies commencing on January 17 is set to be released this week, leading to much debate about Warner’s successor.  

 

Cameron Green and Steve Smith are both frontrunners to partner Usman Khawaja up the top, however, specialist openers Cam Bancroft, Matt Renshaw and Marcus Harris are other options.  

 

Hussey told Sports Breakfast that he would like selectors to reward the top performers at Sheffield Shield level.   

 

“Opening is one of the hardest jobs in the game… What I would like is for the selectors to reward the best performers in Sheffield Shield Cricket. I think it sends a really good message to the competition that we value you,” he said. 

 

“If you perform well at that lower level, consistently then you'll get an opportunity to play for Australia… I really hope that they go down that path.  

 

“For me, someone like Cameron Bancroft has dominated in opening the batting in Sheffield Shield Cricket over the last couple of years.” 

 

The WA opener is the Shield’s leading run scorer, making 512 runs across nine innings with an average of 56.88 runs.  

However, Hussey has “a feeling” the selectors are keen on promoting Bancroft’s WA teammate, Cameron Green, and but personally would prefer a specialist option. 

 

“They’ll want to promote him (Green) and keep him in and around that Australian team,” he said. 

 

“I'm not saying he can't go from the middle order up to open the batting because we have seen examples of players do it in the past - Shane Watson has done it and did it pretty well. So did Simon Katich. 

 

“Opening the batting in Test Match Cricket is one of the toughest roles. I'd prefer to go for a specialist opener.  

 

“Out of Bancroft, Renshaw, or Marcus Harris, that's who I would choose. I think I'd choose the guy who has dominated Sheffield Shield Cricket the most in the last couple of years, just to send a really good message to that competition.” 

 

If the Green is selected, he will make his first appearance for Australia this summer, after making the squad, but going unnamed in the playing 11 against Pakistan.  

 

Hussey says opening may be short term and there’s another plan for him going forward. 

 

“If they did go down the Cameron Green path, he's performed pretty well in Sheffield Shield Cricket as well, albeit batting in the middle order,” said Hussey. 

 

“I think long term, Cameron Green will be the successor for Mitch Marsh when he sort of finishes up his career. There's a natural fit there."  

IMAGE: The Canberra Times

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