Australia’s decision to drop Travis Head for the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India has been met with shock by Australia’s media and ex-players, with one labelling it a “f***ing disgrace”.
Former Australian bowler Chadd Sayers took to Twitter to voice his concerns around the selection decision. “Head being dropped is a fu**ing disgrace,” he tweeted.
With Cameron Green deemed unfit to bowl prior to the opening match there was a big decision to be made in the middle order. Most assumed it would be a shoot-out between Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb to take his spot, but both were selected, with Head left out in a selection surprise.
Head is the No.4 ranked Test batter in the world and enjoyed a stellar home summer, averaging 87.50 and striking at nearly a run a ball, but has a poor record overseas. He averages 23.76 in 11 Tests outside Australia, a figure that drops to 21.30 in Asia.
Renshaw and Handscomb are seen by the Australian management as better options against the turning ball. Handscomb averages 35.40 in Tests in Asia, and while Renshaw’s figure is only slightly higher than Head’s at 23.69, he enjoyed a good start to the 2016/17 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India before tailing off.
Nevertheless, the decision has stunned several in Australia’s cricketing circles. Legendary former captain Steve Waugh weighed in with his thoughts on Instagram: “Hard to believe we can drop the number four ranked test batsman in the world and probably our best batsman in the last 12 moths plus he bowls better than average off spin – let’s wait and see – maybe the Aussie selectors are genius’s [sic].”
“Surely Travis Head had to be backed in for the first Test,” Forbes cricket journalist Tristan Lavalette tweeted. “Massive call – not just for this match and series but his standing moving forward. Hard to remember a more brutal axing for an Australian player.”
With injuries to Mitchel Starc and Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins had decisions to make with his bowling attack. He opted for just a four-man attack with Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland and debutant Todd Murphy joining the captain as bowlers. The decision to not play Head has been deemed even more strange by commentators when considering his ability to bowl spin.
Former Indian cricket and commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted: “Very interesting selection from Australia. Travis Head? I know he is a left-hander, but I thought he was the right package with his off-spin. I would have thought a tall left arm spinner who bats [referring to Ashton Agar, also unpicked] would be perfect.”
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