Despite Australia’s emphatic victories over both Pakistan and New Zealand this summer, there are still questions over the positions of both Matthew Wade and Joe Burns.
Most of Wade’s runs have come in the second innings when there hasn’t been much pressure. His century in the first Ashes Test came when Australia was looking to declare, while his century in the fifth Test came after the match had already been lost.
Wade made some runs against Pakistan in low-pressure situations, coming at 3-358 in Brisbane and 3-490 in Adelaide. Yet against a depleted New Zealand bowling attack he failed to pass 50 in three Tests.
Meanwhile, Burns started the summer with 97 against Pakistan, but his form fell off during the rest of the summer.
The fact that both Burns and Wade failed to make runs against a weakened New Zealand bowling attack should concern the Australian selectors seeing as next summer Australia will face an Indian attack featuring Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.
Of the two, Burns would be the most likely to hold due to his good chemistry with David Warner and because of the lack of other options.
However, if another opener, such as Nic Maddinson, Matt Renshaw or Jake Weatherald, were to have a good run of form during the second half of the Sheffield Shield season, they could end up opening the batting with Warner in Bangladesh.
Wade’s position in the team should go to Glenn Maxwell.
Maxwell is one of Australia’s best players of spin and would be a valuable addition to Australia’s middle order. He also bowls handy off spin.
Playing Maxwell would allow Australia to play a three-man pace attack featuring Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood alongside Nathan Lyon as the sole frontline spinner, with Marnus Labuschagne and Maxwell capable of bowling some additional spin.
The Australian selectors have ignored Maxwell for too long. He deserves the chance to play in Bangladesh.