Who will replace David Warner at the top of the Australian batting order? Leading commentator dismisses talk. Steve Smith is the man who will take on the new ball against the West Indies
- Candidates are lining up to replace the retired David Warner at Test level
- Cameron Bancroft and Cameron Green have the strongest claims
- Steve Smith is also a threat as a left field option and has expressed his interest
Leading cricket commentator Ian Smith has cast doubt on whether Steve Smith is the best option to replace David Warner as Australia's opening batsman following his retirement from the Test arena.
Speaking on Fox Cricket – Smith – who played 63 Tests for New Zealand in his playing days, he felt 'Smudge' should stay where he is.
'Suppose he fails four or five times in a row, what then? Are you turning it back to 4?' Smith asked about his namesake on Saturday.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes it could offer a new lease of life for the one-time Australian captain ahead of the two Test series against the West Indies starting January 17.
“If anyone (from Smith's class) raises their hand, I think Australia should listen,” he said. “Maybe Steve Smith needs a new challenge.”
Leading cricket commentator Ian Smith has cast doubt on whether Steve Smith (pictured) is the best option to replace David Warner as Australia's opening batsman
Cameron Bancroft has been a prolific points scorer for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield over the past two seasons
All-rounder Cameron Green would have plenty of support as a direct swap for Warner ahead of the two-Test series against the West Indies
It comes after Smith, 34, recently opened up ABC Stand he was keen to face the new ball in red ball cricket along with Usman Khawaja.
“I'm actually happy to get to the top,” he said. 'I'm very curious if they want to do that.
“I'm sure the selectors and Ron (Andrew McDonald) and Patty (Cummins) will talk about it, but yes, I'm definitely interested.”
It's clear that Smith is looking for a new challenge in an attempt to reinvigorate himself after what was a relatively quiet year by his standards in 2023.
While Smith still averaged 42.22 with three centuries and plundered almost a thousand runs, it was his lowest calendar year average since 2014 – with the exception of 2018 and 2020 – where he played very few Tests due to his suspension following 'Sandpapergate' in Cape Town . and then the Covid-19 pandemic.
All-rounder Cameron Green plus openers Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matthew Renshaw are the other leading candidates to replace Warner.
Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting wants a traditional opener to get a chance later this month – and has genuine reservations about Green at the crease from the first over.
“Not a chance,” he said bluntly. “It's time to go back and find Australia's next best opening batsman with the India Test series and Ashes in mind.”