Former Australia batter Michael Hussey wants David Warner’s replacement to be a regular opener, not someone promoted up from the middle order.
The 48-year-old, who was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame before the second Test between Australia and Pakistan at the MCG, has urged the Australian selectors to pick an opener who has been doing well in the Sheffield Shield.
Warner is set to retire at the end of the Pakistan series and Australia will have to finalise an opener for the two-match Test series against West Indies in January. "Opening is one of the toughest jobs in the game," said Hussey on Tuesday (December 26).
"So for me personally, if I was selecting, I'd be going for a traditional, proper opener. Someone who has done it for a long period of time. Because if you haven't done it much in your first-class career, it's going to be very difficult to come up the order.
"I'm not saying you can't do it, and maybe someone could evolve into doing that role. But I think it would be difficult for a player like Mitch Marsh or someone - I know there's been talk about him going up the order - I think he's probably more suited, much like Travis Head, to be in the middle-order.
"I think that'd be the best for the balance of the Australian team."
Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft and Matt Renshaw are the specialist candidates waiting in the wings, while there have also been talks about promoting Marsh or Head up the order. The two, however, are not too keen to open the innings.
Marnus Labuschagne, who bats at No. 3, is one more option Australia could try.
"I like whoever's dominating the level below, who's been dominating in Sheffield Shield cricket over a period of time, and to be fair, they all have at various stages. So it's a tough job for the selectors. I don't want to stand here and say it should be this guy or this guy,” said Hussey.
"I hope that they reward the guy that's been performing very well at Sheffield Shield cricket. I think that sends a great message to the competition. And it's great for our pathways that we're going to reward the guys that are doing well."
Hussey worked with the current Australian team for a couple of days before the Pakistan series and wouldn’t mind more stints in the future. "I really enjoyed it. Just watching how they prepared and slowly starting some little conversations to get to know them and their games a little bit more.
"It was fun. I really, really enjoyed it. My shoulder is still just recovering. It just depends on how the schedule sort of line up at this stage but I've got a good relationship with Andrew McDonald (head coach).
“We played with each other at the Thunder and our paths crossed many times. So I've got a good relationship there. I've got a good relationship with some of the players as well. So if I can (do more) I'd love to."