Domain Test Series v Pakistan
'The slate is clean': Hohns throws open Test berths
National Selector Trevor Hohns refuses to follow captain Tim Paine in endorsing David Warner for a guaranteed spot in the Test XI against Pakistan
9 October 2019, 09:11 AM AEST
The slate's been wiped clean since Australia's tour of England according to national selector Trevor Hohns, who won't guarantee David Warner a spot at the top of the order for the summer's first Test.
Warner endured a horror run as Australia retained the Ashes in a series drawn 2-2, managing just 95 runs at 9.5 and becoming the first batsman in Test history to be dismissed for single figures eight times during one series.
It was the lowest ever return for an opener playing all 10 innings in a five-Test series and has meant he is among the question marks of a top six that is far from settled ahead of the summer's first Domain Test against Pakistan next month.
Captain Tim Paine declared last month Warner, who has 21 Test centuries to his name, had "enough credits in the bank" to retain his spot at the top of the order.
And he should relish a return to the hard, fast Australia pitches where he averages almost 60 in Tests compared to 34.50 abroad.
Hohns was happy to describe Warner as one of the world's best short-form batsmen while announcing him in the country's T20 squad on Tuesday.
But he wasn't as eager to lock in the 32-year-old for Test duties ahead of a "very important" Marsh Sheffield Shield season that begins for NSW against Queensland at the Gabba on Thursday.
"I'm not going to comment on that right now," Hohns said when asked if Warner would demand a Test spot regardless of his early-season form.
"The slate's wiped clean of course (after the Ashes); different conditions (in England), but it's nice if we have in-form openers.
"David knows what he has to do as well as anybody, same as (fellow incumbent opener) Marcus Harris and any of the players that played in England.
"Make no bones about it, there is a couple of batting spots, two or three, up for grabs."
Warner and Steve Smith will play for NSW for the first time in almost two years on Thursday, while Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Matthew Renshaw will all play for Queensland in the first of four Shield rounds before the first Test.
Labuschagne replaced Khawaja at first drop mid-way through the Ashes series, while Renshaw and Burns have both had success as the top of the order for Australia.
Queensland have not confirmed what batting order they line-up with in the Shield clash, but it's understood Bulls captain Khawaja will take his usual spot at first drop behind openers Renshaw and Burns with Labuschagne at No.4.
Khawaja has responded to his axing with two centuries in his only two innings for Queensland in the Marsh One-Day Cup competition.
Queensland will host NSW in the Marsh Sheffield Shield opener at the Gabba from 10am local time (11am AEDT) from Thursday, October 10 with a free live stream via cricket.com.au and the CA Live app, including Apple TV.
Queensland squad: Usman Khawaja (c), Joe Burns, Cameron Gannon, Sam Heazlett, Charlie Hemphrey, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, James Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee, Mitch Swepson.