Travis Head Boosts Australia’s World Cup Chances, Says Tim Paine
Former captain Tim Paine supports Travis Head’s inclusion in Australia’s World Cup squad, believing it makes the team stronger.
Former Australia captain Tim Paine has expressed his belief that Travis Head is the right choice to replace Marnus Labuschagne in Australia’s upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand.
Head, recovering from a hand injury, is set to return for the game scheduled for this Saturday, creating a selection dilemma in the top-order. While Steven Smith has shown his intention to maintain his position, Tim Paine agrees that Labuschagne is the logical player to be omitted.
Paine stated, “I think he makes us a better team, so you play him. I hoped he was going to play the last game against the Dutch… rather than come straight in against the Kiwis who have been playing some good cricket.”
The former captain believes that both Head and Steve Smith have established themselves as genuine ODI stars, despite Labuschagne’s progress in white-ball cricket. Labuschagne, batting at number four, has an average of 36 runs per game, participating in all matches, while Smith has scored 133 runs from five World Cup innings.
“I think he comes in for Marnus, who, let’s be honest, he came into the World Cup squad after being dropped. I think credit to him, his one-day cricket has improved, his strike rate has gone up, his intent from the start has been up,” Paine said.
Paine also believes that the best batting order Australia can assemble involves Head opening the innings, Mitch Marsh at three, and Steve Smith at four. He considers this configuration as a well-balanced batting order, filled with power-hitting potential.
Australia will face New Zealand on Saturday at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala. The Pat Cummins-led side has three wins in the tournament, while New Zealand has four victories in five outings. Australia has made several changes to its lineup in an effort to secure a spot in the semifinals.