Pat Cummins expressed contentment with Steve Smith’s performance at No. 4 and is not inclined to consider Smith for the Test opening role, preferring to maintain the current batting order.

Australia faces the critical decision of choosing David Warner’s successor as the Test opener. The selectors, set to reveal their choice for the West Indies series, are confronted with multiple quality options both within and outside the current squad. Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, and Mitchell Marsh are potential candidates. Past openers Marcus Harris, Matt Renshaw, and Cameron Bancroft add to the depth.

Addressing ABC Sport after the third day’s play in the Sydney Test against Pakistan, Steve Smith also expressed his willingness to open for Australia in Test matches. Smith stated that he’s content to bat at the top order if the team management deems it necessary. “I’m actually happy to go up the top, I’m pretty keen if that’s what they want to do,” Smith said.

Despite the options, Test captain Pat Cummins prefers maintaining the batting order’s current stability. He appreciated Steve Smith’s performance at No. 4 and believes disrupting that order, including Marnus, Travis, and Marsh at Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6, might not be the ideal initial move.

“I’m pretty happy with (Smith’s) output at No. 4. Obviously Marnus, Smudge [Smith], Trav and Marsh have been pretty impressive at Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6. So first instinct isn’t probably to disrupt that,” Cummins said.

“It’s obviously going to be really hard to replicate Davey and what he’s brought to it. I think you look for who is best placed to score runs, really. But I think, in Test cricket, there are some things that remain true – and that is you’ve got to be putting the pressure on the opposition. You’ve got to be ticking over the scoreboard. Not always – but most of the time – you’ve got to keep the scoreboard moving along,” he added.

Earlier, Labuschagne had expressed support for Steve Smith’s potential as an opener, citing his impressive averages at various batting positions. Smith’s averages of 58 at five, 61 at four, and 67 at three indicate his increasing averages as he bats higher in the order.

However, Labuschagne preferred batting at No. 3, valuing the versatility of that role.

“I’ve got no doubt if that’s the way we go, he (Smith) will do very well. He really wants it, he wants that motivation… waiting to bat is not his forte; he wants to get out there straight away. I’m happy to do what the team needs, but I do love batting at three; I love the variety of the role. At the moment, it could be anyone,” Labuschagne had told SEN.

Last Updated on January 7, 2024

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