Michael Hussey calls for specialist opener as David Warner’s successor

David Warner

Former Australian cricketer Michael Hussey has emphasized the importance of selecting a dedicated opener to replace David Warner and cautioned against opting for a makeshift solution. Speaking before the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, where he was honored in the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame with Lyn Larsen, Hussey stressed the significance of rewarding a specialist who has excelled in Sheffield Shield cricket.

Despite his own versatility across formats, Hussey firmly advocated for a specialist opener’s inclusion in the upcoming Test series against West Indies following Warner’s retirement post the Pakistan series. While he refrained from naming specific candidates, his stance underscored the selectors’ focus on finding a seasoned opener to maintain Australia’s batting strength.

“Opening is one of the toughest jobs in the game. So for me personally, if I was selecting, I’d be going for a traditional, proper opener. Someone who has done it for a long period of time. Because if you haven’t done it much in your first-class career, it’s going to be very difficult to come up the order.I’m not saying you can’t do it, and maybe someone could evolve into doing that role,” Hussey said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

“But I think it would be difficult for a player like Mitch Marsh or someone – I know there’s been talk about him going up the order – I think he’s probably more suited, much like Travis Head, to be in the middle-order. I think that’d be the best for the balance of the Australian team,” he added.

David Warner will sign off giving Australian selectors void to ponder upon

The Australian team remains notably stable as the search for Warner’s successor continues. Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft, and Matt Renshaw emerge as the primary contenders for the coveted opener’s slot. However, Andrew McDonald, the coach and selector of Australia, sparked discussions ahead of the Pakistan series by contemplating the possibility of a lineup featuring Marsh and Cameron Green, prompting a potential shuffle that would see Marnus Labuschagne stepping up as an opener.

Previously, Usman Khawaja had expressed his preference and advocated for a specialist opener to partner him at the top, which cast doubt on Labuschagne’s comfort in the role. Meanwhile, Travis Head and Shaun Marsh had openly conveyed their reluctance to take on the opening responsibilities. Their views add layers to the ongoing deliberation about the ideal replacement for the 37-year-old and hint at the players’ preferences and the potential lineup permutations under consideration.