27/05/2024

Could a shuffle down the batting order further unlock Cameron Green's full potential? Image: cricket.com.au

As he waits his opportunity to bat today at the SCG, could a shuffle down the order help unlock the full potential of Cameron Green?

When Cameron Green walks out to bat on Day 2 at the SCG he will be chasing the one thing he has failed to do consistently in his short Test career to date. Make big first-innings runs.

Green has found it tough going in the first innings in his career to date, only piling up 89 runs over seven innings averaging 12.1.

From George Bailey to Mitchell Marsh, to Matthew Wade, Australia has long struggled to solidify the number six position in its Test batting order.

While we all envision a return to a middle-order consisting of Hussey, Clarke, and Gilchrist, the current reality is the inexperience of Travis Head, Cameron Green and Alex Carey, only one of whom has played more than half a dozen Test matches.

Head has ever so quietly worked his way to #10 in the Test batting rankings, while Carey has supporters based on his potential as a future Test captain and ability shown in his first three outings at Test level.

The general consensus among Australian fans however is that the 22-year-old from Western Australia boasts the greatest potential of the three.

With the ball, Green has shone in the first two Tests, causing major problems for the now number two Test batter in the world, Joe Root. His pace and bounce have provided exactly what Australia has been looking for in a fourth seamer, albeit fans have been left wondering in the small amount of time Green has had bat in hand.

His domestic form from the past couple of seasons demonstrates his capabilities, though we’ve seen over the years the difficulties associated with translating Shield success to the national stage, most recently through Marcus Harris.

So would a batting order re-shuffle help re-invigorate Green and ease the psychological pressure mounting around his batting potential? Head at 5, Carey at 6, Green at 7?

Green’s best batting to date has occurred in scenarios where he is attacking the bowling, as opposed to recent dismissals where he looks tentative against the likes of Stokes and Robinson.

Carey’s maturity at one-day level, when the batting line-up has looked unsettled, holds him in good stead to halt the inevitable middle-order collapse at Test level. Moving Green to 7 would then become an ominous proposition for the remainder of the Summer if provided an opportunity to open the shoulders against a weary England bowling attack.

Many experts think Green is capable of rising as high as number four once he hits his prime, but should the Australian leadership take lessons from the unfulfilled potentials of Shane Watson and Mitchell Marsh in years past to protect its newest all-round prodigy?

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Both Watson and Marsh struggled with the bat over prolonged periods, caused by technical flaws and a lack of confidence, not dissimilar to Green’s start to his career. At 22 years of age, Green needs as much confidence as he can acquire, and a move to number seven could provide the answer.

Australian fans only need to think back to the prowess of Ian Botham to understand not every great all-rounder can finish their career with the flawless statistics of a Jacques Kallis. A naturally hard-hitter with the bat, Botham developed into a fearful proposition for bowling attacks all around the world, despite averaging just 33.54. His ability to take a match away from the opposition within a matter of overs, batting anywhere between positions five and seven is something Green should look to model his game on, and if he can be half the bowler Botham was, Australia’s future looks bright.

Australia’s tour of Pakistan is less than three months away and a successful tour would re-establish the Test side as a force to be reckoned with.

The ghosts of last Summer still burn in the hearts of Australian fans and an Ashes win over a depleted England side won’t be enough to re-assure Australian fans that the squad is on the pathway it needs to be.

Coach Langer and Captain Cummins must ensure all cracks are smoothed over prior to Pakistan or risk-taking an imperfect squad to the notoriously unforgiving subcontinent. A place where Australia will be well acquainted with come the next Australian summer with three separate tours on the horizon.

The leadership of the Australian side should re-consider Green’s role in the team, utilising him more effectively with the ball and providing him with a license to hit when batting, given the situation calls for it. A talent such as this need not be wasted and the precedence of Marsh and Watson suggests he should be protected at all costs.

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