Steve Smith to replace David Warner as Test opener for Australia
Steve Smith will take over from the retired David Warner as Australia’s new Test opener after convincing selectors he was “willing and hungry” to embrace a new challenge.
Smith batted as low as number nine on Test debut and has taken every spot up to number three in the course of a prolific career. Now he will head the innings for the first time having publicly pitched to replace Warner.
The 34-year-old’s move will accommodate the return of all-rounder Cameron Green in the top six for the forthcoming series against the West Indies, with Matt Renshaw picked as reserve batter and Cameron Bancroft’s hopes of returning to the Baggy Green fold dashed.
Head selector Andrew McDonald indicated all parties view the switch as a long-term move and praised the former captain for embracing change after 105 Tests and almost 10,000 runs lower down the order.
“It’s selfless that someone who’s had such success in one position or a couple of positions in the middle order, that he’s willing and hungry to have a crack at something different,” McDonald told reporters.
“For someone who has achieved as much as he has over such a long period of time across all formats, it’s a challenge or an itch he’d like to scratch and ultimately for us, as a team, it’s something that fits.
“It provides an opportunity to slot Greeny into number four where he’s had success for Western Australia. Ultimately we are trying to pick our six best batters.
“The regard in which we hold Cameron and the way the rest of that batting order is functioning left us feeling we have someone we think is pretty talented who was potentially going to find it pretty hard to get any Test cricket in the next 12 months or so.”
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