Australia’s interim men’s head coach Andrew McDonald is toying with the idea of playing ax hitter Marcus Harris in the middle order.
Harris was dropped from the Test squad in the recent Ashes series, averaging just 29.83 in the first four games and topping 50 carries on one occasion.
Since his debut in 2018, the southpaw has failed to capitalize on his Test career, averaging 25.29 in 14 matches and never reaching the treble in one set.
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The 29-year-old has been named in an 18-man squad for a tour of Pakistan next month, where Australia will play three Tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20.
McDonald’s confirmed to the media today that Usman Khawaja will retain his place at the top of the Australian command alongside David Warner for the first test, from March 4 in Rawalpindi.
But Harris’ recent domestic form has raised questions about her role on the tour. This month Harris scored a 58 and a 91 in the Sheffield Shield for Victoria, punctuated by a 102* in a one-day game.
Harris repeatedly showed he could score points domestically – which led to his Test selection in the first place – but was never able to replicate that in top form in the game.
“He’s doing well, he’s putting runs on the board. It’s not uncommon for Marcus to do a lot of runs at Sheffield Shield level, and it was encouraging to see him do one-day runs as well,” said McDonald’s to the media today. .
“He’s in good form, it’s an option (for the test team). We know what he can do.
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“Can he fit into the middle order if something were to go wrong there? That’s also a potential.
“Usman, you would say, is a good chance to start (as a fly-half) in the first test match after what he did in the summer.
“We have options, competition for places, and that’s always healthy.”
Harris has only opened batting in all of his 14 Test games. It never beat anywhere else in the order, which makes McDonald’s suggestion surprising.
Travis Head is the No. 5 hitter in the Test, while Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis are also on the team and will compete with Harris for the job if Head doesn’t play a game.
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