Steve Smith set to fill David Warner’s void in Tests, Usman Khawaja cautions selectors and management against it

As per the Australian chief selector, George Bailey, Steve Smith and Cameron Green are the leading contenders within the current squad, being considered to fill the opening position left vacant by David Warner, who retired from Tests last week.

Sarah Andrew
New Update

Australia's veteran opener David Warner has retired from the Test and the ODI format recently, which has created a void in the Australian batting team, especially in the longest format. Warner has been a modern Australian great, more so in the Test format, which is considered to be the most difficult format for an opener. He amassed 8,786 runs playing for Australia in just 112 matches at a resounding average of 44.6. 

The Australian team has been pretty successful in all three formats in the last 2 years and David Warner played a huge role in doing so apart from the success, there have been questions regarding who will replace David Warner after he hangs his boots. 

Australia’s opening woes in the past

In the absence of Warner, Australia has struggled to secure a solid opening partnership in the past. They have tried plenty of options in the past in the form of Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris, Matt Renshaw, and Will Pucovski but none of them have been able to secure his position in Warner's absence. So now that David Warner has retired from Test cricket, Australia is looking for a solid opener to take up Warner's position. 

According to the Australian chief selector, George Bailey, Steve Smith and Cameron Green are the front-runners among the existing squad who are being looked upon for taking this role, whereas Matt Ranshaw is also added to the squad for the two-test matches starting from 17th January. 

Usman Khawaja cautions against the move

Smith has put up his hand to take up the role of Warner in the opening position. But given Steve Smith's terrific record at the No.4 position, many greats are sceptical of Smith leaving his proven position to take up a role which he hasn't performed yet in his career. Among the sceptics, at the top is Australia's current opener Usman Khawaja. 

He said, "I say it's a specialist position in brackets, but anyone who can bat in the top four can open. I just wouldn't want to sacrifice someone who is in my opinion the second-greatest ever Test batsman off the position that he's been batting in for so long. The beauty of Steve Smith is he's a beautiful No. 4 batsman. He can bat against pace. He's really good against spin."

Steve Smith is most probably going to open in the first test at the Adelaide Oval on January 17, whether he will be able to cope with the new challenge and how will it affect the team combination, will be quite exciting to see. 

Steve Smith Usman Khawaja