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Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty
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Cricket Australia Hands Contract To Cameron Green Among 17 Cricketers

Cricket Australia hasn’t handed contracts to Travis Head and Matthew Wade while allrounder Cameron Green has earned his first deal and youngster Will Pucovski has not been included.

Joe Burns, who lost his place during the Test series against India, and injury-prone Mitchell Marsh have also been omitted from last year’s original list with just 17 deals handed out by Cricket Australia for the 2021-22 season.

Cameron Green
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Cameron Green of Australia poses before an Australian Nets Session at Adelaide Oval on December 15, 2020, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia Want To Create An Environment Where Players Strive For National Selection Through Consistent International Performances

Cameron Green is the only new name in Cricket Australia’s contract list pruned to 17 instead of the maximum 20. However, players who make enough appearances during the period are elevated as Marcus Stoinis was last season but he too doesn’t make this selection.

The contracts include just three specialist Test batsmen in veteran David Warner, Steven Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne with Cricket Australia’s national selector Trevor Hohns saying he wants competition from outside those contracted.

“There are two main reasons behind the size of the contract list,” he said. “Firstly, we have seen format specialisation become increasingly prevalent in recent seasons which, accordingly, has resulted in a broader group of players representing Australia, often beyond the initial list of contracted players at the start of each year. Secondly, we want to create an environment where players strive for national selection through consistent domestic performances and earn national contracts through consistent international performances.”

Cricket Australia Haven't Handed Contract To Matthew Wade
Cricket Australia Haven’t Handed Contract To Matthew Wade (PA AAP)

The axing of Matthew Wade suggests he will struggle to resume his Test career as he was also dropped from the squad for the postponed tour of South Africa in February. However, he may still feature in the T20 World Cup as he featured on the recent limited-overs tour of New Zealand and captained Australia, as a stand-in for Aaron Finch, against India in December.

Travis Head was dropped after two Tests against India when the selectors opted to stick with Matthew Wade amid a batting reshuffle when Will Pucovski and David Warner both returned from injury at the SCG.

However, he was part of the squad for the then scheduled South Africa tour and had a prolific Sheffield Shield season, having finished as the second-leading run-scorer behind Cameron Green and is likely to be a strong candidate for a middle-order spot in the Ashes.

“There is a considerable amount of international cricket to be played across all formats in the next 12 months and the door to national selection is never closed to players outside this list,” Cricket Australia national selector Trevor Hohns said.

Both Cameron Green and Will Pucovski made their debuts last summer, but it’s only the all-rounder who makes the list. Cameron Green played all four Tests against India while Will Pucovski, who earlier in the season hit back-to-back double centuries in the Sheffield Shield before suffering another concussion, made his debut in Sydney where he scored a half-century but was then sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Will Pucovski is expected to recover in time for the start of next season and is the favorite to open the batting alongside David Warner in the Test side for the Ashes and the one-off match against Afghanistan penciled in beforehand.

Cameron Green had a magnificent season with the bat for Western Australia where he was the leading Sheffield Shield run-scorer with 922 at 76.83. In four Tests, he made 236 runs including a maiden half-century at the SCG. However, he went wicketless in the series – and only collected three in the Shield – as he worked his back from a stress fracture.

“Cameron is a player we believe will play an important role for Australian cricket after his impressive breakout summer,” Hohns said. “His 84 in the second innings against India at the SCG demonstrated excellent technique and resolve and we are confident his bowling will be impactful at the international level. His domestic form was also outstanding, and we expect he will only get better with more international exposure.”

While much of Australia’s schedule over the next 12 months remains to be confirmed, they are due to return to action in July with ODIs and T20Is in West Indies before potentially heading straight to Bangladesh for a T20I series.

Cricket Australia will send its team to be in Sri Lanka ahead of the T20 World Cup – currently scheduled for India in October – before returning home for a season that is expected to include a one-off Test against Afghanistan ahead of the Ashes that will run from early December to mid-January.

Australia
Australia. Image Credits: Twitter

According to the FTP, South Africa is due to tour early next year for white-ball matches before Australia has a full tour scheduled against Pakistan from late February. Australia has not played an overseas Test since the 2019 Ashes with tours of Bangladesh and South Africa postponed due to Covid-19.

Cricket Australia Contracts list: Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Michael Clarke
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Michael Clarke Criticised CA Selectors For Dropping Matthew Wade

Michael Clarke, former Australian skipper has criticized selectors for dropping batsman Matthew Wade from the South Africa tour. The 39-year-old has hinted that national selectors are biased.

The decision of national selectors to drop Matthew Wade from the upcoming South Africa tour has not gone well with former Australia captain Michael Clarke.

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke (Image Credit: Google)

Michael Clarke: Matthew Wade Didn’t Score Many Runs But Was Better Than Joe Burns Who Played First 2 Tests Despite Low Scores

The 39-year-old took shots at the selectors and accused them of being biased. Michael Clarke did not shy away from saying that incumbent opener Joe Burns, who featured in the first 2 Tests versus India, was backed by the selectors despite his repeated failures. Further, Michael Clarke pointed out that Matthew Wade took the responsibility of opening for Australia in the absence of David Warner but the selectors still showed him the exit door despite scoring 172 runs averaging 21.62.

“What happened to that loyalty they showed to Joe Burns when it came to Matthew Wade,” he said.

Matthew Wade.
Matthew Wade. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Where has Matthew Wade gone? You batted out of position for them, went to the top of the order, did the right thing for the team, gets back. I know he didn’t score as many runs as they would like but hang on, one minute we’re hearing ‘the incumbent Joe Burns, support, support, support’ then Matthew Wade out the door,” Michael Clarke said on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast.

Middle-order batsman Travis Head was dropped from the playing XI in the third Test versus India after David Warner returned at the top of the order and Matthew Wade had to come down. Travis Head was kept out of the team in the 4th Test as well but finds himself in the squad for South Africa Tests.

Michael Clarke: Travis Head Was Not Good Enough 2 Weeks Ago But He Is Back In Squad And Considered Better Than Matthew Wade

Michael Clarke expressed ‘confusion’ over the situation and threw numerous questions on the selectors. However, Matthew Wade may be dropped due to his better form in T20Is as Australia will simultaneously play against New Zealand in T20Is at the same time when Test side competes against South Africa. Matthew Wade scored 145 runs in 3 T20Is against India averaging 48.33.

“I’m confused. Travis Head was not good enough two weeks ago but now he is back in and better than Matthew Wade who was good enough. Did they get the selection wrong two weeks ago when they dropped Travis Head for Matthew Wade?,” he added.

“Has Travis Head played a game since he was dropped… to fight his way back into the team? So how has he gone back into the team? This is what confuses me and this is why you regularly hear people having a crack at the selectors. They regularly leave themselves open.

Travis Head
Travis Head. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Explain why Matthew Wade is not in the squad, explain why Travis Head is back in, explain how you cannot discuss Tim Paine’s performance. They’re either not telling the truth or whoever is having these conversations are missing a trick,” Clarke concluded.

Australia are due to play three Tests in South Africa. The tour was originally scheduled for February and March, but the dates have yet to be locked in due to concerns over coronavirus. The five-game T20 tour of New Zealand runs from February 22 to March 7, clashing with South Africa, meaning a host of players are not available. Matthew Wade was the main casualty from the India series, with the squad otherwise much the same. But he will be vice-captain in T20I squad for New Zealand.

Test squad for South Africa: Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

T20 squad for New Zealand: Aaron Finch (capt), Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa

Mitchell Starc, Tim Paine, Australia vs India 2018/19
Tim Paine Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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This Is Not The Time To Jettison Tim Paine: Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell, former Australian cricket captain has thrown his support behind Australian keeper and skipper Tim Paine, with the Test legend claiming that it is still not the time to be jettisoning Australia’s captain.

Tim Paine’s captaincy and wicketkeeping were thrown into the spotlight and were criticized following last week’s shock 2-1 series loss to India after two poor day-five performances against injury-hit India.

Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell

Greg Chappell: This Is Not The Time To Jettison Tim Paine As He’s Still The Best Keeper In Australia And Averaged Over 40 In India Test Series

The 36-year-old keeper is almost certain to lead Australia to South Africa next month if the tour goes ahead, but it has not stopped questions being asked externally. While Tim Paine put down three crucial chances in Sydney and another late in Brisbane, former Test captain Greg Chappell said Australia must stand by their man.

“This is not the time to jettison Tim Paine,” Chappell said.

“He’s still the best keeper in the country and he’s still averaged 40 in the Test series. Okay, he didn’t have great games in the last two Test matches behind the stumps. But you can’t overestimate how hard four Test matches in a row are, particularly for fast bowlers, and especially for a wicketkeeper-captain. It’s an enormous workload and he probably suffered a little bit from the fact that he was pretty knackered by the end.”

Tim Paine.
Tim Paine. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Despite regular questions over his batting, Tim Paine’s average of 32.63 remains the third-highest of all Australian wicketkeepers. Under his leadership, Australia have retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches, but have now dropped two successive home series to India.

But with no other Test series scheduled up until the Ashes (except perhaps a one-off Test against Afghanistan), failure to win against the Proteas may well tempt the selectors into dropping the wicket-keeper-batsman.

Pat Cummins Front Runner To Replace Tim Paine But No Bowler Has Been Skipper Since 1964

Bigger questions remain over who could replace him, given Pat Cummins is the front-runner but no bowler has been the fulltime skipper since Richie Benaud in 1964.

Pat Cummins.
Pat Cummins. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Greg Chappell meanwhile finds it harder to come up with a solution for the Test team’s middle order. Matthew Wade has failed to reach 50 in his past 14 innings, while the Big Bash through the middle of the summer means no batsmen have been able to press their claims.

“I don’t think there are many (solutions), to be honest,” Chappell said.

“They’re going to have to do something but it’s going to be a bit of guesswork involved. I’m certainly not critical of the bowlers, I’m not overly critical of Tim. I think our batting certainly let us down.”

Travis Head averages 39.75 playing 19 Tests while Matthew Wade scored 173 runs in 4 Tests averaging 21.62. Travis Head scored 62 runs in 2 Tests averaging only 20.66.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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India Must Capitalize On Australia’s Batting Deficiency: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir wants the visitors to capitalize on Australia’s vulnerabilities especially in the batting department and seal the series as the Australians are suffering from batting deficiencies but will be bolstered by opener David Warner’s return.

Australian players’ struggle with the bat has been quite evident in the ongoing Test series against India as they failed to score beyond 200 in each of the 3 completed innings.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Gautam Gambhir: Australian Batting Line-up Is Weakest Compared To England, India And New Zealand

Gautam Gambhir even went on to say that it is the “weakest batting line-up” for Australia as he compared it with England, New Zealand, and Indian batsmen. The highest Australia has gone so far after the completion of two Tests against India is 200.

“We have a chance against Australia. If you look at the top four batting line-up of the world, I think it’s the weakest batting line-up. England is better than Australia, New Zealand is better than Australia and India is much better than Australia,” Gambhir told ANI.

“I haven’t seen this kind of Australian batting line-up in my life. So, vulnerability is there. They haven’t played India’s main attack. If Shami, Ishant, and Umesh Yadav were fit then there would have been no reply from the Australians. So, there is a big possibility and chance that we can win this series,” he added.

Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.
Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. BCCI Twitter

Both Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are not available since they have ruled out for injury-related issues while Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav suffered injuries in 1st and 2nd Test. Despite their unavailability, India have a potent pace bowling attack with likes of Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan in their ranks.

Navdeep Saini who generates pace and bounce have been preferred and will debut in Sydney Test joining pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. The latter debuted in Melbourne Test and was successful picking 5 scalps.

Gautam Gambhir: Big Opportunity For India As Australia Are Under Pressure

Australia are under pressure with Steve Smith who scored successive centuries in first 2 ODIs, have failed pathetically notching up only 10 runs in 4 innings. Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade have scored more than 100 runs in 2 Tests while likes of Travis Head, Cameron Green and Joe Burns failed with bat.

Elaborating further on India’s chances of winning the series, Gambhir said: “It’s a big opportunity and chance for the Indian team to beat Australia in Australia again because I don’t think this kind of vulnerability was ever seen in the hosts’ batting line-up. They are under pressure.”

Travis Head
Travis Head. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Currently, the four-match Test series between India and Australia stands level at 1-1 and both teams will be aiming to take the lead with a win in the third Test, set to commence on Thursday, 7th January.

David Warner, Virender Sehwag, Geoff Boycott
David Warner (Image Credit: Twitter)
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Tim Paine Confirms David Warner Will Be Part Of Playing 11 For 3rd Test

Tim Paine, Australian skipper has put an end to speculations over the availability of star dashing opener David Warner for the third Test against India which starts in Sydney from Thursday 7th January.

The 36-year-old Australian captain, on Wednesday, confirmed that 34-year old David Warner, who missed the first two Tests because of a groin injury suffered during 2nd ODI, will be part of the playing eleven.

Tim Paine.
Tim Paine. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Tim Paine: David Warner Brings Really High Intensity And Uplifts Confidence Of Cricketers Around Him

A day before the start of the 3rd Test against India, Australia captain Tim Paine has confirmed the participation of opener David Warner, who is in excellent form in Tests too having scored a career-best 335 not out recently against Pakistan in November 2019 and hit three tons in last 2 Test series.

Tim Paine added that a team for the crucial 3rd Test was ready but would be revealed later because of an optional training session for players going on at Sydney Cricket Ground this morning. Tim Paine hinted that there could be more than one change for the SCG encounter starting 7th January.

Joe Burns and David Warner
Joe Burns and David Warner. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Matthew Wade, Australia’s makeshift opener for the previous Tests, could see himself getting back in the middle order and that could lead to the benching of Travis Head for the 3rd Sydney Test. Travis Head had scored 7, 38 and 17 in the first 2 Tests.

“We’ve got a team but we’re just not releasing it at the moment,” Paine said in a media conference this morning adding, “The boys are still training so we’ll get through that first, unscathed and then we’ll try to get a team out as quickly as we can after that. Obviously with David (Warner) playing and potentially more, there’s some conversations that need to be had first. Davey’s been awesome, he brings really high intensity and fills guys with confidence around him,” Paine said of Warner’s return.

Opener Joe Burns has been axed for being out of form for the last 2 Tests and the inclusion of 22-year-old Will Pucovski who is yet to debut in Tests can see David Warner get his 12th opening partner in the longest format.

Tim Paine: Will Pucovski Is Fantastic, Fresh, Batting Well And Excited

Will Pucovski suffered a concussion while batting in a warm-up game against India. He was drafted into Test squad following an impressive performance in Sheffield Shield where he scored two consecutive double tons. He first hit an unbeaten 255 against South Australia and followed it with 202 against West Australia for Victoria.

Will Pucovski.
Will Pucovski. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“He’s a player that you love having on your side. He’s always got plenty to say, really energetic, very professional and I’ve always loved playing. He’s a player in this team guys love to have in the side, so he’s made an instant impact with that energy and intensity that he brings. Will’s been fantastic as well.

“He’s been out of the bubble for a couple of weeks, so he’s excited, he’s fresh and he’s been batting really well in the nets and looks ready to go if he’s called upon,” Tim Paine said in a media conference this morning.

The 4-match Test series is levelled at 1-1 after India registered an emphatic 8-wicket in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) after the Adelaide debacle where the team registered lowest ever Test score of 36.

Pat Cummins, middle finger
Pat Cummins (Image Credit: Google)
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Tim Paine Will Be Succeeded By Pat Cummins As A Test Skipper: Michael Clarke

Tim Paine was handed the captaincy armband after the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 which saw one year ban from all forms of cricket for then skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner. Moreover, the duo was also given subsequent captaincy bans-as Steve Smith cannot become captain for 2 years and David Warner was handed a lifetime captaincy ban.

However, Tim Paine has done a decent job of seeing his team returning back to winning ways as Australia won 10 out of 19 matches he captained during a tough period in Australian cricket. But the 36-year-old Tim Paine is already reaching the fag end of his career after playing 31 tests as a fresh captaincy discussion has been initiated.

Tim Paine, Steve Smith
Tim Paine, Steve Smith

Tim Paine Doing A Great Job But Pat Cummins Should Be Given Captaincy As He Is Ready For It: Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke, the former Australian batsman and an ex-skipper is hopeful of pace spearhead Pat Cummins succeeding Tim Paine as the country’s Test leader when the veteran’s reign comes to an end.

There have also been calls from fans, experts and former cricketers to reinstate batsman Steve Smith as skipper. Still, Michael Clarke believes pacer Pat Cummins, who was recently appointed the sole vice-captain after previously sharing the role with Travis Head, should be handed the role of captaincy when the perfect time comes.

“Patty’s ready for it. I love that they’ve given him the full-time vice- captaincy,” Clarke told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke. Image Credit: Getty Images

“Right now I think Finchy is doing a great job, Painey is doing a great job. So, that gives Pat Cummins the opportunity to learn and watch and sit back and and see how he feels about that role and experience a few different things,” Clarke said.

“Hopefully he gets an opportunity along the way to captain in certain games, whether it be Australia A or whether it be a tour game, whatever it is, which I’m sure he will,” he added.

Both the duo of Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner resigned from their posts after they were slapped with a one-year international ban for their involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal. Since then Tim Paine has been captaining the Test team while Aaron Finch was assigned the limited-overs leadership after Australia’s 5-0 whitewash against England in May 2018.

Michael Clarke Rejects Notion That A Batsman Should Do Well As Skipper Rather Than A Bowler

Michael Clarke, who was the skipper of Australia in 47 Tests before retiring in 2015, also rejected the popular belief that a batsman is better suited to the role of a captain than a bowler as Pat Cummins is a bowler himself. Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Heath Streak, Daniel Vettori and Shaun Pollock have been successful captains as bowlers in recent past while pacer Jason Holder is still captaining West Indies.

“Not at all. These days there’s so much cricket. Batsmen get injured. Bowlers get injured. Guys are going to be rested,” he said.

Pat Cummins.
Pat Cummins. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“For me it’s the right person for the job that’s the most important, not whether you’re a batter or bowler,” Clarke added.

In January 2019, Pat Cummins became one of Australia’s two-Test vice-captains, alongside Travis Head. Pat Cummins was also named as the sole vice-captain in limited-overs formats, with Alex Carey dropped as a co-vice-captain for the three T20Is and three ODIs against England.

Recently, he was appointed sole test vice-captain after being rested in T20I series against India. He also didn’t play the 3rd ODI and picked three wickets in two ODIs averaging 39.67.

Steve Smith. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Steve Smith’s Return As Skipper For Australia Won’t Upset Me: Jason Gillespie

Jason Gillespie, former Australian pacer was asked the question whether Steve Smith should be back as captain of Australia in a recent interview and he said that he would not be upset if the batsman returns as Australian captain as he has already paid for his crime.

The ball-tampering incident of 2018 had left the cricketing world shocked because there were some big names attached to the incident which drew widespread criticism.

Steven Smith
Steven Smith. Photo Credit: AFP.

Steve Smith, David Warner And Cameron Bancroft Banned For 1 Year After Involvement In Ball-Tempering Offence

Both Steve Smith and David Warner who were the captain and vice-captain of the team back in 2018, respectively, at the time, were banned for 12 months and the latter was also given a lifetime ban on ever being given a leadership role in Australia cricket.

David Warner and Steven Smith.
David Warner and Steven Smith. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

In March 2018, during the 3rd Test match against South Africa at Cape Town, Cameron Bancroft was caught by cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper to make it swing in flight, and later the names of David Warner and Steve Smith were associated with the incident and were subsequently banned for a year, and they returned in 2019 World Cup in ODIs and 2019 Ashes Series in August in Tests.

The door to return as Australia captain, though, was left open for Steve Smith, and now that the two players have returned and settled back into the teams, questions are being raised if Steve Smith should replace Tim Paine as Australia Test captain.

Jason Gillespie Softened Stance About Steve Smith Captaining Australia Again

Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie was asked about Steve Smith’s comeback as skipper, and he said that he wouldn’t be upset if Steve Smith returns as Australia captain as he has already paid for his crime by serving a year-long ban. Jason Gillespie had softened his stance after Steve Smith paid the biggest price after committing the crime of ball tempering in the history of the game.

“When the whole ball-tampering incident happened in Cape Town, I didn’t think Steve Smith would captain Australia again. That said, I have softened my stance on that upon reflection,” Jason Gillespie told Sportstar.

“These guys have paid a bigger price than anyone else in the history of the game had to pay for an offence like that. It’s almost like you do the crime, you do the time, and wipe the slate clean. Steve Smith is a natural leader, and if he is appointed Test captain after Tim Paine, I wouldn’t be upset about that,” he added.

Jason Gillespie
Jason Gillespie

“There are other options available, like Pat Cummins. Could a fast bowler do that role (of captaincy)? It’s traditionally not the done thing… If fast bowlers are given captaincy roles, they tend to either over-bowl or under-bowl themselves,” he further said.

“I feel we should leave the bowlers be the bowlers… I think a batsman or a ’keeper should take the captaincy reins. That said, I am not ruling out the possibility of Cummins taking over the role. Travis Head is another option; he has been captaining South Australia since the age of 20 – he is a vastly experienced leader,” Gillespie signed off.

He reckons that Steve Smith is a natural-born leader having led in 34 Tests out of which Australia won 18. Tim Paine captained in 19 Tests, and Australia have won 10. In ODIs, Steve Smith-led Australia in 51 matches and Australia have won 25. But Aaron Finch is also doing well leading Australia in 38 matches out of which team won 21.

Jason Gillespie though reckons other options like Travis Head and Pat Cummins are available too as both of them were vice-captains. According to Jason Gillespie, a batsman or wicket-keeper should take over the captaincy in future ruling out the possibility of pacer Pat Cummins.

Travis Head. Credits: Twitter
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Tim Paine Definitely Took The Pressure Off Me – Travis Head

There was some pressure building on Australia’s middle-order batsman Travis Head because of his mundane performances in the recent past. However, Head was finally able to deliver the goods as he scored his second Test century in the ongoing Boxing Day Test match against New Zealand to help his team post 467 runs in the first innings after Kane Williamson won the toss.

Meanwhile, Head believes that he was trying to hurry whenever he reached the nervous nineties early on in his career. However, when the southpaw batsman got the opportunity to bring up his second Test ton, he decided to do to travel from 90 to 100 in singles and doubles.

Tim Paine Definitely Took The Pressure Off Me - Travis Head 1
Travis Head and Tim Paine. Credits: Twitter

Travis Head was at his best.

On the other hand, Australia’s captain Tim Paine was striking the ball cleanly as he scored 79 runs from 138 balls and scored runs at an impressive strike rate. Thus, Paine didn’t allow the pressure to build on his partner Head and the left-hander was able to buy more time.

Travis Head said after the day’s play, “I think it helped that Tim came out and struck the ball as well as he did. Definitely took a lot of pressure off me, I don’t think I changed the way I went about it, especially to [Neil] Wagner, Tim took him on and played exceptionally well and was very positive, plays the pull and hook shots extremely well. That was his game plan and at the other end left-hand/right-hand definitely helped with the momentum and putting pressure back on their bowlers. Exceptional day for Tim as well and he took a lot of pressure off me in the partnership.”

Tim Paine
Tim Paine. Credits: Twitter

Head and Paine added 150 runs for the sixth wicket alliance to help Australia post a par score of 467 in the first innings. The hosts further strengthen their position as they took the wickets of Tom Blundell and skipper Kane Williamson before the end of the second day’s play. Australia has put themselves in command courtesy Travis Head century. New Zealand will resume third day’s play at 44-2.

Henry Nicholls
Henry Nicholls. Credits: Twitter
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Watch: Henry Nicholls Takes A Screamer To Remove Steven Smith

New Zealand all-rounder Henry Nicholls took a stunning catch to dismiss Steven Smith. Nicholls who was positioned at gully had to dive back to take the screamer. In fact, he was able to hang on to the ball on the tip of his fingers. Neil Wagner continued with the ploy of attacking Steven Smith with the barrage of short-pitched deliveries.

The left-arm pacer was able to get one right on the target and Smith could not handle the extra bounce on this occasion. Subsequently, the ball took the shoulder of the bat and ballooned to Henry Nicholls who was up and ready for the catch. Thus, Wagner was finally rewarded for his persistent short ball strategy against the talisman right-hander as he dismissed him on 85 runs.

Neil Wagner
Neil Wagner. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

It was a fabulous grab from Henry Nicholls.

Meanwhile, Australia posted a par score of 467 runs after New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to bowl first. Earlier on day one, Marnus Labuschagne continued his sublime form going as he scored 63 runs but missed the opportunity to score his fourth straight Test century.

On the second day, Travis Head was able to get going as he batted at the top of his game. The southpaw batsman scored his second Test century as he scored a fine knock of 114 runs. Australian captain Tim Paine gave good support to Head and he also scored a sublime knock of 79 runs. Both the batters added 150 runs for the sixth-wicket alliance.

Watch: Henry Nicholls Takes A Screamer To Remove Steven Smith 2
Travis Head and Tim Paine. Credits: Twitter

On the other hand, Neil Wagner was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers as he took four wickets. Tim Southee scalped three wickets whereas Colin de Grandhomme took two scalps.

Australia also got two crucial wickets in Tom Blundell and Kane Williamson to finish the day on a high. New Zealand will resume Day 3 from 44-2.

Here is the stunning catch of Henry Nicholls:

 

Travis Head
Travis Head. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Australian Player Travis Head Signed By Sussex For Entire 2020 Season

Australian player Travis head is signed by the County team Sussex for entire 2020 season. This time the player missed the opportunity because of his busy schedule in Ashes 2019. Now the 25-year-old batsman will be available for all the format.

The Sussex coach Jason Gillespie is happy with the selection of Travis Head. He opines that his experience will help the team to move forward. The team needed him and Jason hopes that his skills will benefit team.

Read More: Sarfaraz Ahmed Urges Fans To Come In Big Number For The Historic Moment

“We wanted a top-four batsman to improve our team and Travis will do that. He’s shown his class in his international career so far, he brings some useful off-spin and he will offer good leadership support to our captains from his time leading South Australia and the Strikers.”

“To have a high-quality international batsman like Travis on our staff in 2020 is very, very exciting.

“Next year’s international schedule leaves Australian players relatively free during the English summer, so Travis fits the bill perfectly.”

Travis Head, Sussex, County Championship
Photo Credit: AFP.

Travis Head is also should his excitement to be the part of the County cricket. The player has played 42 ODIs and 16 T20Is for Austalia. The middle-order batsman has scored 1,273 runs in ODI at an average of 34.40. He has played 93 first-class and 91 List A matches.

Read More: Virat Kohli In Danger To Face Suspension As He Closure To Earning Suspension Points

“I was disappointed not to have been able to take up my contract this summer so was thrilled that Jason [Gillespie] and Keith [Greenfield, Sussex Cricket’s director of cricket] were keen to lock me away for the 2020 season. I can’t wait.”

“With such a proud history, success is expected, and I want to play my part in achieving that. I look forward to seeing you all next summer. Get behind the Sharks!”

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