Cricket prodigy Cameron Green is set to make his Test debut at age 21, Matthew Wade looms as Australia’s makeshift opener and Joe Burns is firming to retain his spot in the XI.
Australia’s plans for the first Test against India, muddled by a stack of injuries and a preparation that coach Justin Langer admits has been “disjointed”, became a touch clearer on Tuesday.
Steve Smith’s sore back, which resulted in the former skipper receiving treatment as Australia’s pacemen terrorised teammates in the nets, became the latest concern for the medicos.
Smith is expected to bat on Wednesday, having pulled up sore from a fielding drill.
Langer has confirmed Green, provided he ticks the required boxes under Cricket Australia’s concussion policy, will be presented with a baggy green at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
The inclusion of the allrounder means Wade will shuffle up the order to partner Burns or Marcus Harris.
Green suffered a scary head knock while bowling last Friday, when Jasprit Bumrah clobbered a ball back at him.
But the West Australian took part in fielding drills, bowled off the long run then had a hit against local spinners on Tuesday.
“If he’s passed fit, he’ll definitely play,” Langer said.
He had another test this morning that we got good news on.”
Greg Chappell has described Green, who scored 197 against NSW this season then an unbeaten 125 against India in a tour game, as the best batting talent he’s seen since Ricky Ponting.
Green, who bowls express pace, has also attracted comparisons to Andrew Flintoff.
But the young gun only recently resumed bowling after back stress fractures, meaning Langer isn’t expecting any wonders with the ball.
“He might bowl a few overs but he’s earned his right purely through weight of runs,” Langer said.
Ajinkya Rahane, who will captain India after Virat Kohli returns home for the birth of his first child, was suitably impressed with Green’s efforts last week.
“He looked a complete cricketer,” Rahane said.
“It was good to see him bending his back and scoring that 100, he looks a very good cricketer.”
Langer confirmed Marnus Labuschagne was not in the mix to open but described No.5 batsman Wade as Australia’s new “Mr Fix It”, who could handle batting anywhere in the order.
“He’s mentally tough and physically tough,” Langer said. “He’s got good footwork. He’s got the game for it (opening the batting).
“He can counter attack like David Warner does and a lot of the great openers do.”
Burns has managed just 62 runs from nine first-class knocks this season.
The out-of-form opener faced James Pattinson and Michael Neser on Tuesday as a watchful Langer offered some encouraging words of wisdom.
“I’ve been privately and publicly backing Joe in the whole time,” Langer said. “He’s a very good player. You don’t lose your talent overnight.
“He also understands that runs are the greatest currency for any player. He’s been a bit light on.
“We’ll make a decision on who is going to open in the next day or so.”