Colombo: Australian batter Travis Head is not quite optimistic about his chances of making it to the Playing XI against Sri Lanka in the upcoming five-match One-day International series, given that David Warner will be returning to side and will partner skipper Aaron Finch at the top.
Following a three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka beginning June 7, Australia will take on the Islanders in five ODIs, with the opening game on June 14 at Kandy. While Head is not a part of the T20 set-up, he is in the squad for ODIs and Tests.
Head, who has mostly batted at No.5, opened the innings with Finch during the three-match ODI series in Pakistan recently when batting stalwart Warner was rested. But with the opener returning to the side for the ODIs against Sri Lanka and the Australian middle order all sorted, Head feels there is littler room for him to be accommodated at No. 5.
“It means I probably won’t start (in the ODI series),” Head said prior to flying out for Sri Lanka. “I’m realistic in that Davey (Warner) and Finchy (Aaron) are back together at the top of the order, and then you’ve got a middle-order that’s so set in that side it’s a hard one to get into.”
Head had finished the three-match ODI series against Pakistan as the team’s second-highest run-getter and indicated that he is looking forward to more white-ball opportunities ahead of next year’s 50-over World Cup in India, though with Warner back he feels it could be tough.
Head has an enviable record as an opener for Australia, with his 15 innings (from 45 matches since 2016) yielding 683 runs at an average of 45.53 with two centuries, five half-centuries and a strike rate of almost 105 per 100 balls faced, according to the report.
The only other Australia ODI batter with a better average from as many or more starts as an opener is Usman Khawaja with 53.63 from his 20 innings at the top of the order, as per the report.
Chance to play
“I think the plan is to see the lay of the land for the first couple of ODIs and, if the opportunity isn’t quite there and a spot doesn’t open up, then there’s a chance for me to play in the second Australia A (four-day) game and turn my focus to the Test series,” felt Head.
Head is also a member of the Australian Test squad. The two Tests will be played after the white-ball component of the month-long series.
“I’m probably the unfortunate one at the moment who’s just out of that ODI starting XI, but it’s great to be back in the squad and I hope I’ve been able to force the selectors hand a bit over the last 18 months or so with domestic form and then in Pakistan. I’ll try to keep banging the door down, and that’s all you can really do,” he added.