Australia’s first Test series this summer will be against a challenging Pakistan side.
Although Pakistan have had most of their recent success in the shorter formats of the game, they are still a force to be reckoned with on the Test stage as well. This match-up will only contain two Tests and will be played at the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval.
Most of the talk coming from Australia’s successful Ashes campaign has been based around our two opening batsman. But the dilemma is not that we don’t have enough, but more that Australia has too many to choose from.
The main options are Marcus Harris, David Warner, Joe Burns, Cam Bancroft, Nic Maddinson and Aaron Finch.
However, other than these players, there’s still two more who have opened many a Test for Australia and who could do us proud against Pakistan: Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw.
Khawaja is an experienced Australian batsman, having played 44 Tests. Although the majority of those matches have been played batting at No.3, Khawaja has played seven innings as an opener. From those seven innings, Khawaja has an outstanding batting average of 96.80. He also has a batting average of 70.86 against Pakistan having played against them on four occasions.
Although Khawaja has a Test batting average of 40.7, he played 11 Tests in 2019 at a batting average of 29.4 and in first-class cricket, he’s coming off a Sheffield Shield match for Queensland against New South Wales where he scored 1 and 24.
However, back in August of this year, captaining the touring Australian team against Derbyshire, Khawaja scored a classy 72 and guided his side to win by an innings and 54 runs.
As a whole, Khawaja has had a rocky 2019 but, his amazing opening batting statistics and his batting averages against Pakistan cannot be ignored when it comes to selection.
Meanwhile, Renshaw in recent years has had a love-hate relationship with Test cricket. Renshaw made his Test debut against South Africa in November 2016 then continued to play all of Australia’s next nine Tests against the likes of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
However, he averaged just 19.00 for the Bangladesh series. This caused Renshaw to get dropped from the Australian Test side until March 2018 against South Africa, when he came into the squad to replace the banned David Warner. Renshaw averages 33.61 from ten Tests, but enjoys facing Pakistan, averaging 67.75.
Renshaw’s recent form hasn’t been incredible though, averaging 19.14 in his last 14 first-class innings for Queensland and Kent.
Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw both have astonishing statistics against Pakistan and as Test openers, but selection to be one of Australia’s openers for the upcoming series looks doubtful based on recent form.