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Hard to believe we can drop the No.4 ranked Test batsman in the world: Steve Waugh on Travis Head's exclusion

IANS | February 09, 2023 01:29 PM

NAGPUR: Former Australia captain Steve Waugh was left surprised over left-handed batter Travis Head being excluded from the side's playing eleven for the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against India at Nagpur.

Head, 29, is currently sitting at number four in the ICC Test batting rankings, and made 525 runs at an average of 87.5 against the West Indies and South Africa in the home summer. But for the Nagpur Test, right-handed batter Peter Handscomb came in for Head, leaving many baffled, including Waugh.

"Hard to believe we can drop the No. 4 ranked Test batsman in the world and probably our best batsman in the last 12 months, plus he bowls better than average off-spin. Let's wait and see - maybe the Aussie selectors are geniuses! #gamble #overanalysing? #waitandsee, " wrote Waugh on Instagram.

Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden, commentating on the match, was also left baffled over Head's exclusion. "?I can't believe it. He was the player of the summer. Totally different conditions I know in Brisbane but his 90 there was just so damn good."

"He made it look like it was flat, and it wasn't. It was an absolute raging green top. But his mindset and his ability to be able to score quickly, and he's a good player of spin as well. I'm just speechless."

Head's exclusion for the Nagpur Test may have got to do with his previous struggles in the subcontinent, averaging just 21.30. Moreover, on Australia's tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka last year, Head fell to spinners five out of six times.

Speaking on Fox Sports, former Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin suggested Handscomb having a better record against spin may have resulted in him getting the nod over Head. "?Peter Handscomb is known as being a really good player of spin bowling, he has played well here in the past."

"Travis Head's record in the subcontinent has been poor. It won't be the last time we see him in the subcontinent, I think he just needs a little bit more time to get used to his game in these conditions."?

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