Uncapped duo Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques and fellow allrounder Steve Smith face a potentially career-defining moment in Australia’s opening two-day tour game starting on Tuesday in Chennai.
The sudden retirement of middle-order batting great Mike Hussey and star allrounder Shane Watson’s decision to play as a batsman-only in the first Test against India on February 22 have created a massive opportunity for off-spinner Maxwell, leg-spinner Smith or seamer Henriques to grab the No.7 batting slot.
National coach and selector Mickey Arthur has already indicated wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is being considered for a promotion to No.6 with an all-rounder to follow then four specialist bowlers.
“With two tour games (February 12-13 and 16-18), it’s an opportunity for someone to score runs and take wickets,” Australian opening batsman Ed Cowan said on Sunday in Chennai.
“I’m sure whoever manages to do that of that three (will be a big chance to play).
“I don’t think there’s a clear standout.
“The hand has been shown a little bit with Shane Watson only wanting to bat – there is a need for an all-rounder.
“Whether that’s a spinning all-rounder or a medium-pace allrounder is one dictated by the conditions they think they’ll face but, two, dictated by form.”
Cowan says NSW pair Henriques and Smith and Victoria’s Maxwell are all super-talented players but they lack consistency.
All three have international experience in limited-overs cricket.
“There are three guys who can provide two options with bat and ball,” Cowan said.
“We’ve seen how good each of them can be in patches but it’s just that consistent effort that you get from guys who get to know their game.
“They’re young guys and their consistency will come.
“It’s exciting to see guys at the start of their career.”
Maxwell is the highest-profile player of the trio after landing a $1 million deal at last Sunday’s Indian Premier League auction when he was snapped up by Mumbai Indians.