India vs Australia: Marnus Labuschagne backs Joe Burns to open for hosts in David Warner's absence
Marnus Labuschagne believes his Queensland teammate Joe Burns will open for Australia at the upcoming Test series against India if injured David Warner does not regain match fitness in time.
Warner suffered a groin injury during the second One-Day International (ODI) between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday. He limped off in pain during the fourth over of India's innings. While Australia have won the ODI series after winning the first two games, they will be without Warner for the third and final ODI and the subsequent Twenty20 International (T20I) series.
Cricket Australia confirmed on Monday that Australia's former Test vice-captain has been ruled out of the side's remaining limited-overs game of the year. The in-form opening batsman has gone home and will begin his rehab in the hope to recover in time for the first Test that is scheduled to begin on Dec. 17 at the Adelaide Oval.
Labuschagne, who made his Test debut in 2018 and averages over 60 in Tests, has said that his Bulls teammate Burns has the talent and temper to return to Australia's Test squad despite having an average start to the Sheffield season and can partner Will Pucovski in the opening slot.
"Joe's averaging (almost) 40 in Test cricket so he's certainly established, and he's got four Test hundreds – he's a very good player. Although he hasn't scored the runs in Shield cricket that he'd like, he got (97) against Pakistan in the first Test last summer and he negotiated through that new-ball period almost every time. So, he's not far away from a couple of big scores, and if he was to step up into that senior opener role I think he's the sort of player that can. He's done it many times for Queensland, and a few times for Australia as well," Labuschagene was quoted by cricket.com.au, as saying.
While Pucovski has hammered two double-centuries, having batted in three innings so far this summer at an average of 247.50, while Burns has managed only 57 runs in three Shield appearances at an average of 11.40.
Australia have officially added D'Arcy Short as Warner's replacement to the T20I squad for their upcoming three-match series. The hosts will also be without their fast bowler Pat Cummins as Justin Langer has decided to rest the pacer ahead of the day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval, starting Dec. 17. The Australians have decided against adding a replacement for Cummins in the squad.
"Pat and Davie are critical to our plans for the Test series. Davie will work through his injury rehab and in Pat's case it is important all of our players are managed well to keep them mentally and physically fit throughout what is a challenging summer. The priority for both is being fully prepared for one of the biggest and most important home Test series we have played in recent years, especially with World Test Championship points up for grabs," Australia head coach Justin Langer recently said in an interview.