PAKISTAN TOUR OF AUSTRALIA, 2023-24
Head opened in India in the absence of David Warner © Getty
Travis Head has shown a penchant for attacking the new ball – white or red – but has ruled himself out of being a long-term successor to David Warner in the Test side. As he prepares for the upcoming home series against Pakistan, the swashbuckling opener reckoned that the role belongs to a ‘specialist’ and that his middle-order returns were deemed satisfactory by the national selectors.
Head has predominantly featured as a middle-order batter in his 42 Tests so far, but filled in rather effectively for David Warner in India earlier this year. The left-hander was roped in, in Delhi, Indore and Ahmedabad where he amassed 233 runs in quick time and at an average of 55.75. Yet, Warner’s replacement at the top of the order is likely to come from one out of Cameron Bancroft, Matthew Renshaw and Marcus Harris who played as the top-three in the Prime Minister’s XI fixture against Pakistan last week.
“The (selectors are) happy with me in the middle order. I think (opening) it’s a specialist job,” Head said. “The guys that have been waiting to get into the team for a while deserve the first crack at it. But the conversations are ongoing with everyone, only one for me is [opening in] the subcontinent. I don’t see myself moving around too much in the future.”
Even amidst hectic schedule, Head was the only member of Australia’s World Cup-winning squad who stayed back until the end of the five-match series while the selectors afforded some of the stars some rest ahead of the home Tests. Head chose to feature in those T20Is instead of getting some red-ball game time in the Sheffield Shield, but did so in the hope of cementing his spot in the T20I side for next year’s World Cup.
“I’m not a lock for that T20 World Cup, so I wanted to be present and try to perform and try and get myself in that team,” he said. “We felt like that was the greater opportunity to play the three T20s (rather than in the Sheffield Shield). We haven’t got many T20 opportunities coming up over the next little bit, so it was sort of that last chance to press my claims to make sure that I’m in the mix.”
Head, who won Australia the World Cup with a scintillating 140 in the final in Ahmedabad, had to wait patiently for his hand to heal to the extent that he could take the field again in that tournament. He missed the first few games before arriving and making such an impact. As he gears up to take the field in Tests at Perth, he revealed that his hand was still not fully healed.
“I think it’s (the hand) getting close. Training’s a little bit restricted and a little bit sore, but in game time I haven’t felt it since the early games (since his return),” he said.
Head’s heroics in Ahmedabad and the revelry that followed made him an internet sensation, sending meme pages on overdrive. Head saw the funny side of what transpired since that final and lauded the support he’s got from the fans since.
“It’s been crazy. I did myself sort of dirty with a couple photos, so did the boys a couple times. The support has been awesome. It was nice yesterday when the boys came together. There were 10 of us here that played in that [World Cup] and you can still feel the buzz and positive energy,” Head said.