Matthew Hayden backs Matt Renshaw as potential Test opener after Warner

Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden advocates for Matt Renshaw as the next Test opener following David Warner’s retirement.

Matthew Hayden, former Australian opener, believes that Matt Renshaw stands out as the ideal candidate to fill the vacancy left by David Warner’s retirement in the upcoming Test matches. His comments come as Australia prepares to unveil their Test squad for the series against West Indies commencing on January 17.

Renshaw, with an average of 29.31 from 14 Tests, is among the contenders for the opening slot, competing against specialist openers Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft, as well as all-rounders Cameron Green and Steven Smith.

Hayden stated, “Renshaw, being a left-handed opener, holds promise due to his age and potential longevity. While not having Bancroft’s first-class performances, Renshaw’s capabilities and youthfulness make him a worthy consideration for grooming.”

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Expressing his gut feeling, Hayden emphasized the importance of introducing new talent, considering the inevitability of having two new openers soon. He highlighted Renshaw’s past opportunities and suggested that given the right conditions, his confidence in Test cricket could soar.

Regarding the speculation around moving Steven Smith to open the batting, Hayden expressed skepticism. “Strategically, it doesn’t seem viable for Cricket Australia. The team’s success has relied on a solid foundation in the top order. The focus should be on identifying the next Australian opener.”

In contrast, former Test skipper Michael Clarke expressed a differing view, suggesting that Smith could excel as a Test opener within a year and even potentially surpass Brian Lara’s record for the highest individual Test score.

Clarke remarked, “If Smith desires it, the team might allow the switch. Cameron Green could open for David Warner, or Smith could take the position. His exceptional skills might see him emerge as the best opener in no time, possibly breaking records.”

The opinions surrounding the next Test opener for Australia vary, with Hayden backing Renshaw’s potential, while Clarke believes in Smith’s adaptability to excel in the role if given the opportunity.

-IANS