The Sydney Test has started and Will Pucovski has been correctly given his baggy green.
Some might feel why write another article about Joe Burns? Quite possibly that’s a fair point. Maybe it’s time to let sleeping dogs lie.
I wonder, though, are there some more lessons to be learnt here?
Let’s get something straight: anybody who gets anywhere close to playing for Australia should be classed as an elite cricketer. It doesn’t matter if you have played one or 170 Test matches, you are elite.
Joe Burns has played 23 Tests, and scored 1442 runs at an average 36.97.
In a park cricketer’s opinion, these are stats that only dreams are made of!
But realism is important and in terms of keeping your place in the Australian cricket team, those numbers are not good enough.
Most Australians wanted Joe Burns to succeed.
We love an underdog story and coming into that first Test, he certainly was an underdog.
His numbers before first Test read like a sad story. In the Sheffield Shield this year, he played three games for a total of 57 runs at an average of 11.40.
Some might say, who else was there? What about about sticking with the same guys for a while? Pick and stick! All fair points.
My point and question is this, though: did the selectors do Joe Burns a disservice by picking him when he was in such terrible form? Or was it case of pick and stick and see how he goes?
I wonder if the former is truer then the latter?
By picking him in such bad form, they where putting the pressure on him that only a legend of the game could live up to.
If Ricky Ponting had those numbers leading into a Test series, then fair enough, you would back him to get a memorable first Test hundred.
Sadly, Joe Burns is not Ricky Ponting. Not that we don’t want him to be.
No doubt he was trying his best. The trouble with Burns was form. The trouble with selectors was perhaps being too slow to make the needed call. Now they had to pick someone.
Who? I do not know. Was it Marcus Harris, Shaun Marsh or Usman Khawaja?
I may not have that answer, but it wasn’t Burns.
Stats are stats and you can look at pure numbers and form an opinion. But just watching him bat should have been the tell for the selectors.
His form in the Sheffield Shield and the first two Tests was sad to see. But the manner in which he was getting out and how he was looking at the crease was the most worrying part.
At times he looked like a ship lost at sea in the fog with all navigation systems down.
What does the the future hold for Burns? The hope is runs, lots and lots of runs. He seems like a nice guy but being a nice guy is not enough in professional sport.
Clearly the man can play. He is an elite cricketer. Let’s hope he can find it all again and force the selectors to pick him and hopefully he can have another crack.