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The Roar



Travis should Head up the order until Green proves he’s four-midable enough to earn important spot

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20th January, 2024
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Just because Cameron Green gobbles up bowing attacks at first-class level at four shouldn’t necessarily mean he gets the gig in the Test team. 

Travis Head bats at four when he makes a rare appearance for South Australia and at this point in their respective careers, is a more reliable option than Green. 

Even though Head’s aggressive approach can mean he falls cheaply more often than he would if he adopted a more conservative mindset, he also possesses the ability to change the momentum of a game when wickets are falling. 

He did that in the first innings of this week’s Test mismatch against the West Indies with the Aussies in a tricky spot at 3-67 after Green and converted opener Steve Smith failed in their opening foray into their new positions. 

Head’s making a habit of hitting hundreds when the Aussies are in strife. He did so twice to finally cement his spot in the side during the 2021-22 Ashes and in last year’s World Test Championship final against India at The Oval, not to mention his evisceration of the same opponents in the ODI World Cup decider. 

His strike rate is much quicker than Australia’s post-David Warner top order of Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Green, who are all hovering at below 50 over the past couple of years. 

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: Travis Head of Australia bats during day two of the First Test in the Mens Test match series between Australia and West Indies at Adelaide Oval on January 18, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Travis Head. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

And wouldn’t it be easier for Green to bat five while he tries to re-establish himself in the Test team? 


There is less pressure to set the foundation for the innings at five and it would also give him longer to recharge his batteries after bowling. 

Apart from the Jacques Kallis anomaly, pretty much all the world’s great fast bowling all-rounders of yesteryear batted five or lower for the majority of their careers due to the high physical workload of the role. 

Green seems to have a trouble moving through the gears when he is at the batting crease. 

He usually looks assured whenever he comes in but when it comes time to up the ante, he either gets out and fails to convert a start like his 14 in Adelaide or he plods along without ever getting on top of the bowling. 

It’s not like he can’t. We’ve seen him pierce infields and clear boundary ropes in the white-ball formats but whether he’s worried about getting out or doesn’t yet have the confidence at Test level, he rarely dominates bowling attacks in the five-day format. 

Of his 37 innings in 25 Tests, what can no longer be called a small sample size, he has faced 50 or more deliveries on 19 occasions. 


But even in those innings, his strike rate has been north of 50 only six times. 

His career strike rate of 46.69 will surely increase over time along with his rather average average of 33. 

Sandwiching him in between Head and another free scorer in Mitchell Marsh will alleviate that burden on him to be mindful of scoring too slow instead of following on from Khawaja, Smith and Labuschagne. 

Another reason why it makes sense to drop Green down a slot for now is to put the onus back on him to justify his selection. 

He’s been the chosen one for a few years now, anointed as the player most likely to be the cornerstone of the Australian batting line-up when the current stars fade into retirement. 

Most of Australia’s previous batting mainstays like Steve and Mark Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Smith had to earn their stripes at No.6 before they rose up the order to settle in their preferred positions. 

There is a perception that Green is having too much served to him on a platter without the 24-year-old having to do the hard yards. 


Australia have just three more Tests – Thursday’s Gabba assignment against the Windies and an upcoming two-match tour of New Zealand- to strike the right balance before next summer’s showdown on home soil against India. 

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the few missing items in Cricket Australia’s cabinet and after losing the past two series Down Under, it can no longer be assumed that the foreign conditions will bring India undone. 

Their spinners are not as effective in Australia but Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah are world-class seamers who relish the chance to operate on favourable surfaces. 

Australia are adamant they have their six best Test batters in the XI but they don’t have many more chances left to tinker with their line-up. 

If Green continues to flounder at four, they should look to bring Head up a notch to get one of their most consistent run-getters in a more prominent role and give their blue-chip prospect a little more leeway so he can live up to his potential.