Joe Burns

With three centuries in 10 Tests, Joe Burns has secured his place as David Warner’s opening partner in the Australian squad, but the 26-year-old Queenslander’s journey was not at all a comfortable one. Burns had to work really hard to regain the baggy green cap after being snubbed from the team in early 2015. Scoring a pair of half-centuries in his second Test appearance against India didn’t make the selectors satisfied.

But his trip to India with the Australia ‘A’ team in August last year prompted Cricket Australia to consider him again. His outstanding performance — 269 runs in four matches during the  triangular series involving India and South Africa ‘A’ in Chennai was so impressive that a call-up for the England series became almost certain.

The stylish opener, who is currently training at MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai to get used to the conditions in the sub-continent before Australia’s upcoming Sri Lanka tour, said playing in India actually helped him evolve as a batsman. “I love coming to India mainly because of the tough challenge it poses to the visiting cricketers. You need to have different skill sets to excel on turning tracks and it’s important to develop different aspects of my game,” said Burns who is also keen to have a taste of the IPL.

Australians have always been eager to master the conditions in the sub-continent wickets and the recent appointment of former India all-rounder S. Sriram as a consultant has seen them find their edge on spinner-friendly surfaces. Burns said Sriram is a great teacher. “He makes learning easy. Sri maintains a good relationship with all players. Having someone like him in the dressing room instills a lot of confidence in the team,”

Burns, who played in Australia’s most recent Test against New Zealand with scores of 170 and 65, suggested it’s actually foolish not to learn anything when Warner is batting majestically at the other end. “He has been consistent in all three formats and it’s a testament to his hard work and the way he tackles situations. We are good friends off the field and it certainly helps,” he added.