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The Roar


'Happy to go up the top': Smith's surprise call on Warner replacement suggestion, opening Green door for recall

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5th January, 2024

Steve Smith has thrown up his hand to replace David Warner as Australia’s Test opener, confirming he would interested in the move if asked by selectors.

Smith has become a last-minute candidate for the job at the top of the order, with Warner’s final innings looming against Pakistan on Saturday.

Such a move would potentially allow Cameron Green to return to the side at No.4, in the allrounder’s preferred batting position where he walks out for Western Australia.

Smith has never opened in a Test match, but there is a feeling a late-career move to the top could reinvigorate one of Australia’s greatest ever batsmen.

“I’m actually happy to go up the top,” the 34-year-old told ABC radio after play. 

“I am pretty keen if that is what they want to do.

“I’m sure the selectors and ‘Ron’ (coach Andrew McDonad) and Patty (captain Pat Cummins) will have a chat after this game, but I am certainly interested. For sure.”


Teammate Alex Carey also backed the move on Friday, meaning Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Mitch Marsh have all been floated as options.

Alternatively Green could be brought into the team to open against the West Indies in Adelaide on January 17, while Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are the specialist options.

“Steve can bat wherever he wants,” Carey said. 

“He’s probably proven in his career, whatever challenge is thrown at him he has found a way to succeed.

“We’ve got some great openers doing a fantastic job. Obviously a few other names are thrown out there. 

“‘Smudge’ (Smith) putting his hat in the ring, if he was to get the call-up he would do a great job. He’s faced the new ball a few times.”


Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting cautioned against the move on Friday, not keen on disrupting the current batting order.

“I wouldn’t like to see him move,” he told Channel 7. 

“All this talk, all they are trying to do is find a spot in the side for Cameron Green. 

“If they are going to do it, it has to be with the least disruption to the batting order as it is. 

“Smith and Labuschagne have been magnificent at three and four – they have been the backbone of Australia’s batting for the last three or four years. 

“I wouldn’t like to see that disrupted. I think it should be Cameron Bancroft to get that chance.”


Former Aussie opener and coach Justin Langer has also pushed against a makeshift opener, while arguing that a long-term move should be made with series looming against India and England.

“If they see Cameron Green as a long-term solution, then maybe (him),” Langer said.

“But it wouldn’t be my solution.”