FEATURING in an Australian record first-wicket stand of 284 would usually cement a player’s status as an opener, but Travis Head says he’ll just be happy to get a game in the Champions Trophy.
The classy left-hander and Warner slayed the Pakistan bowlers in an Australia Day runs bonanza on his home ground at the Adelaide Oval as the hosts cruised to a 57-run win.
However, he found himself shunted back down the order in the three-match series against New Zealand in February as the Black Caps prevailed 2-0. A century, two fifties and three wickets with his handy offbreaks convinced the Australia selectors to name the 23-year-old in the 16-man squad for the Champions Trophy.
And he’s hoping he’s done enough to earn a spot in the tournament opener against Kane Williamson’s Black Caps on June 2 at Edgbaston.
“I’m hopeful, I finished well at the end of the Australian summer . this is my first time at a big tournament and I am looking forward to it,” Head said.
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“I feel my game is suited to batting anywhere from one to six. It’s just a case of getting the opportunity and doing my best to stay in the team.”
Head averages 37.20 with the bat and has taken 11 wickets from his 22 appearances since making his debut in June last year and believes those consistent performances demonstrate he has the ability to play at the highest level.
“I’ve been pretty consistent since I started and that is all you can ask for,” he said.
“I wanted to get that big score out of the way. If I can keep doing that and playing good cricket then I will keep my place in the team.”
With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson all fit and firing, there is a strong possibility Australia will not always play a spinner in its XI this campaign. That could make Head’s part-time off-spin a huge asset.
“I’ve been working hard on it over the last few seasons,” he said. “In case I miss out with the bat I can still give something to the team with the ball or in the field.
“So if it’s needed throughout the tournament … I’m not going to be out there to win games of cricket with my bowling, but if I can do a job for the team and get them to that position, then that’s fantastic.”