Matt Renshaw has fallen out favour as an Australian Test opener just as quickly as he won our hearts back in his first summer in 2016-17.
With a booming smile on his face, he nudged his way to three figures – and into Australian cricket fanfare – on Day 1 of the Sydney Test in 2017. After Australia had been demoralised by South Africa in Tasmania, Renshaw was among the three inclusions to the Test side for the day/night Test in Adelaide.
The talk of this tall-smiling kid from Queensland who batted like an old-fashioned opener and clunked them at first slip was soon a reality. Constantly playing and missing at fantastic deliveries from the South African attack, Renshaw looked back at the bowler and grinned – as if to say, ‘I am just happy to be here’.
Despite being the perfect balance with livewire David Warner, Renshaw fell out of the top order. Concussion issues and mental health unfortunately sidelined the young prospect from returning to the Australian side when it needed an opener the most.
After an eventful number of years, he has been shifted down the Queensland order at the expense of Bryce Street and Joe Burns. Despite scoring runs in the middle-order this Sheffield Shield season, it isn’t for him. Opening the batting is an art, it isn’t for everyone, but it is for Matt Renshaw.
Whether or not he has received the indication that he will be potentially looked at by the Australian selectors, a move to a rival state would do his chances of returning to the Australian top order a world of good.
Tasmania is currently opening up with Charles Wakim and Jordan Silk. Both terrific bats in their own right, but Renshaw still sits a cut above and would comfortably force his way into that spot.
His most recent knocks this year demonstrated that he is still above Shield level and can churn out big scores for his state. If the left-hander repeated his most recent score of 168 facing the new ball, his name would be discussed for possible inclusion into the Test side.
But scoring that figure at five for Queensland holds less significance for his endeavours to play for Australia as he is not removing the likes of Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade or a potential new all-rounder.
Exchanging the sunny coast and batter-friendly wickets in Queensland for the seaming decks in Tasmania would be a bold move for Renshaw. But given Tasmania would bear the closest resemblance to English wickets in Australia and the way the Aussie openers went in the last series, runs at the top of the order for Tasmania – on difficult wickets – would be a message sent in bold to the Test selectors.