The allrounder is healthy for Old Trafford, but a difficult decision must be made to get him back into the starting lineup. Cameron Green believes that opening the batting in Test cricket would be a “stretch” for him as the time approaches for Australia’s selectors to decide how to balance the playing XI for Old Trafford.
Green missed the Headingley Test due to a slight hamstring injury, which he maintained he could have played through if necessary. On the first day, Mitchell Marsh seized his moment with a magnificent century to save Australia. Marsh also bowled well, and the selectors are now debating whether or not to bring Green back into the lineup.
The least disruptive option would be to forego playing a frontline spinner, leaving out Todd Murphy, who was used sparingly in Leeds, and instead rely on Green as part of an all-pace attack supplemented by Travis Head. Still, coach Andrew McDonald has stated that he prefers a balanced bowling group.
As a result, the selection crunch has refocused on David Warner, who failed twice against Stuart Broad at Headingley. While McDonald did not ensure his status, he did highlight the importance of the opening stands he added with Usman Khawaja at Edgbaston and Lord’s. Ricky Ponting has recently backed Warner to keep his slot, and pulling him out would necessitate a reshuffle of the order.
Possible candidates have been named include Marsh and Green.
Marsh and Green have been mentioned as possible candidates because they have done it in white-ball cricket – Marsh recently in ODIs and Green in T20s – but neither has consistently been higher than No. 4 in first-class cricket, so it remains a very improbable answer.
“I think it’s a little bit of a stretch,” Green said of starting the batting in the fourth Test. “I think being an allrounder [makes it a stretch] – probably Shane Watson is the only one who comes to mind doing that – [and] I’m not too sure how much he bowled.”
Midway through the 2009 Ashes, Watson was recalled to open the batting, and it proved to be his most successful position in Test cricket, with an average of 41.79. He averaged over 15 overs per match and had the third-most wickets (43) of any fast bowler who began the batting. Green is currently averaging slightly more than 13 overs per Test.
“I think anyone would be happy to bat anywhere in the world to play Test cricket,” Green remarked. “You can always put your hand up for selection, but you have to wait to see what the selectors think.”
The selectors must also decide whether to bring Green back in immediately. So far on tour, his averages with bat and ball have been 19.16 and 45.60, respectively, including the WTC final versus India at the Oval.
“It’s been an interesting tour so far with much learning,” Green remarked. “Most of the time, I’ve gotten myself out rather than the situation.” That is concerning the wickets, as it has been flat. I’m trying to learn as much as possible, and it may help me in the future.
Unlike the rest of the squad, Green has continued to practice in the weeks leading up to the game at Old Trafford. He stated that his absence from the third Test was purely precautionary and that he might have played. He injured his hamstring when batting in the second innings at Lord’s, but he could bowl 13 overs after that, including the persistent short-ball approach.
“There were no real issues at the time; it was just a long tour, so I think everyone kind of wanted to get a break during one of the games, so that was my game,” he explained. “The body is fine. Bowling felt perfectly natural. I think I merely went for a single and felt something pretty tiny.”
Green and Marsh are good friends, and while the latter’s spectacular return to Test cricket means Green will have to wait for his next opportunity, Green was delighted by his teammate’s achievement.
“We both have a great relationship,” he says. “We’re so thrilled for each other when one of us is chosen…I kind of look up to Mitch, so I’m thrilled to see him perform well. There was no question in my mind that he would return and play an outstanding game, which he did.”
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