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Opinion

Green ton makes tough call even tougher

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Expert
7th December, 2020
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One player is banging down the door, the other simply doesn’t deserve to be dropped.

But the Australian selectors will be forced to leave one out in nine day’s time when the international Test summer begins.

Cameron Green’s impressive ton against an Indian touring XI on Monday makes the line-ball call between he and Matthew Wade for the number six spot an increasingly difficult one.

A low score from Green might have edged the selectors towards the incumbent, but 114 not out at Drummoyne Oval arguably squares the ledger.

Either way they settle, it’s sure to be a source of contention.

While Green’s four Sheffield Shield tons to date have been outstanding, Monday’s knock raised the bar again.

From a fired-up Umesh Yadav to the subtle variations of Ravichandran Ashwin, the 21-year-old absorbed a heavy batch of pressure early, before flourishing later.

On 20, Green punched Yadav for a back-foot drive that, because of his height, few other players could play.

Later that over, though, he was dropped from a regulation chance at slip and on 78 a sharper chance behind the stumps.

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All centurions experience degrees of luck, but it was notable how quickly Green reassessed and steered his innings back on track.

“What stands out is that temperament and composure. He just seems like he belongs,” Australia A coach Matthew Mott said at the close of play.

When Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist spin emerged as the next Test for Green, he used his feet — as he does incongruously well for a man of his stature.

Cameron Green of Western Australia

Cameron Green of Western Australia (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

He saved some of his best strokes for when two of the most important eyes in Australian cricket were just 22 yards away, putting on 104 with Tim Paine.

“For a young player to come in and show that sort of composure, having spoken to Tim up there, he just said he was all over it and was really enjoying the contest, was very clear on his plans and what he was trying to do,” Mott added.

Green’s innings followed a day one performance where he finished with figures of 0-9 off 8 overs against Test-quality batting.

When combined with his innings on Monday, the West Australian’s upside is considerable.

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Combining his age, talent and apparent ability to fill the all-rounder role Australian cricket has so craved, the public push for his selection before the day-night Adelaide Test will now be considerable.

But Green can, theoretically, only take one of two positions; that being number five or six in the batting line-up.

It appears unlikely, though, that the Australian selectors would drop Travis Head at number five.

Head’s position as captain in this tour match further highlights the Australian hierarchy’s investment in his prospects.

He has also made two 150-plus scores in his last four Shield innings.

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The left-hander would, however, want to avoid another poor dismissal like on Monday, where he threw his hands at a wide one from Mohammed Siraj, chopping on with just four balls until the long break.

“On the stroke of lunch, the skipper should be shouldering arms there without question,” Kerry O’Keeffe summed up in commentary.

Nevertheless, Head’s position does not appear to be on the line.

That leaves just Wade, whose position too shouldn’t be in question given the admirable way he’s performed in the baggy green of late and a more-than-solid solid recent Shield record.

Matt Wade

Matthew Wade (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


While not a factor in his Test credentials per se, his entertaining half-century as Australian skipper on Sunday night showcased his ability to step up when needed.

But for the first time in years, the Australian selectors may have to drop a player who objectively does not deserved to be squeezed out.

Yet the question is this: When the player thrusting himself into the equation is a potentially generational talent, is it reckless to not play him?

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One to ponder.

Over to you Trevor, George and Justin.