Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris could form Australia's new opening pair for the first Test against India at Adelaide, hinted skipper Tim Paine. The wicketkeeper-batsman also confirmed that the next round of Sheffield Shield becomes doubly important, as the hosts will only determine their batting order for the start of the series, after it.
Picked in the 14-man squad for the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Harris seems to be capturing everyone's imagination. The 26-year-old has been rewarded with a maiden call-up, alongside Peter Handscomb and Chris Tremain, following his outstanding ongoing first-class season for New South Wales. While Finch opened the batting in UAE, and is slated to continue at the important slot.
“I think if Finchy plays for us … I dare say it is going to be at the top of the order, If they’re the two we go with, I’m totally comfortable with that,” Paine was quoted saying on Friday, November 23.
Stating that Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh will bat in the middle-order now, Paine further gave an insight into his plans for the marquee series and said, “We’ve got Mitch Marsh in the side at six at the moment. If conditions dictate and you only need four bowlers, you could play all of the batsmen and shuffle the order around. It’s important we’ve got lots of options. Clearly, this next Shield round is really important for a number of guys.”
Paine, again, showered words of praise and encouragement for Harris, who has scored 437 at 87.40 in the domestic red-ball game so far, and said, “I’ve always thought Marcus Harris was an excellent player, even when he was playing for WA.”
“I think his defence has improved a lot and he’s had that really good attacking game and can score very quickly. So I think his game is pretty well suited to Test cricket,” he signed off.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy starts from December 6.
(Inputs from AFP)