Pakistan v Australia Test - Men's
Burns sets sights on Pakistan Tests
Burns eyeing call to open in UAE as he shrugs off back injury that cut short county stint
14 August 2018, 08:16 PM AEST
Opening batsman Joe Burns is confident of shaking off a back injury and is targeting an extended run in Australia's Test team as he looks ahead to Pakistan and the home summer.
Burns' stint with Glamorgan last month was curtailed after just two T20 matches when he jarred his back in the field, but the right-hander is already back doing skills work with Queensland and hopes to step things up to full training next week.
"I was pretty frustrated with how it went down in Glamorgan," Burns told cricket.com.au. "The injury I picked up was only a minor thing but it just so happened that in that two weeks (of recovery) I basically missed my whole playing commitments.
"I'm really confident by the time we get to a game I'll be fine. The scans I got didn't show anything major so we're basically just guided by the symptoms."
Burns' next cricket action will be with the Bulls as part of a state camp at the end of the month, but it's beyond that where things get interesting.
The 28-year-old wasn't included in either the one-day or four-day Australia A squads for India, which could be construed two ways; either Burns is – like Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell – a lock for October's two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, or he is out of the picture altogether.
Interestingly, Burns' Queensland and Australia teammates Matthew Renshaw and Usman Khawaja are both part of the Australia A squad, along with Peter Handscomb, with national coach Justin Langer hinting Test selection for the top six would hinge greatly on performances against India A.
It has been several months since Burns spoke to anyone from Australia's national selection panel, but when he did, the message was encouraging.
"I spoke a little bit with the selectors after the South African series, and everything was really positive there," he said. "I guess as a player all you can really do is trust that and prepare accordingly."
Going against Burns is his Test record in the subcontinent, albeit from a very small sample size: in four innings in Sri Lanka in 2016, he made 34 runs before being dropped for the third Test. In his only other two first-class matches on the subcontinent, against India A and a Sri Lankan XI, he has made eight and 72 respectively.
But Burns' focus is on rediscovering the highly impressive form that saw him average 55 in the Sheffield Shield and earned him a Test recall in a summer that ultimately cruelled by a groin injury.
"I don't think I've hit the ball as good in my career as I did last season," said the Queenslander, who turns 29 next month. "So when you're hitting the ball like that you want to be playing as much as possible.
"When I got back on the field for the last Shield game, then the (Shield) final and the Test match … I was basically on one leg.
"Going forward I'm hoping I can get that continuity and, with a few more opportunities now, an extended run at it.
"As an opening batter, you accept that you're going to be facing high-quality bowlers with a new ball on a fresh wicket – so you're going to have games where you do miss out.
"I remember I played eight Test matches straight – we had the home summer (2015-16) and then we went to New Zealand, where we went to No.1 (Test ranking) – and that was my most productive period; I got three hundreds, and averaged over 50.
"So I know that if I can get that genuine crack at it, I feel really confident that I've got the game that can have success, and I guess that's my goal for the summer."
Burns made his Test debut against India in the 2014-15 Boxing Day Test batting at No.6, and his versatility to bat anywhere in the line-up is understood to be highly regarded. He returned
Australia's Test squad to face Pakistan is expected to be named after the Australia A series against India, which concludes on September 11.