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Who will replace David Warner at the top of the Australian batting order? Leading commentator dismisses talk Steve Smith is the man to face the new ball against the West Indies

  • Candidates are being lined up to replace the retired David Warner at Test level
  • Cameron Bancroft and Cameron Green have the strongest claims
  • Steve Smith also looms as a left-handed option, having expressed his interest

Leading cricket commentator Ian Smith questions whether Steve Smith is the best option to replace David Warner as Australia’s first-choice batsman following his retirement from the Test arena.

Speaking on Fox Cricket – Smith – who played 63 Tests for New Zealand in his playing days, felt «Smudge» should stay where he is.

“Say he fails four or five times in a row, then what? You throw him back to the 4?” Smith asked his namesake on Saturday.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes it could offer a new lease of life to the former Australian skipper ahead of the two-Test series against the West Indies starting on January 17.

«If anyone (of Smith’s class) puts their hand up, I think Australia needs to listen,» he said. “Maybe Steve Smith needs a new challenge.

Leading cricket commentator Ian Smith has questioned whether Steve Smith (pictured) is the best option to replace David Warner as Australia’s opening batsman.

Cameron Bancroft has been a prolific run-scorer for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield over the past two seasons.

All-rounder Cameron Green is said to be heavily backed as a direct replacement for Warner ahead of the two-Test series against the West Indies.

It comes after Smith, 34, recently said ABC tribune he wanted to face the new ball alongside Usman Khawaj in red ball cricket.

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«I’m actually glad to climb up,» he said. “I’m quite interested to see if they want to do that.

“I’m sure the selectors and Ron (Andrew McDonald) and Patty (Cummins) will be talking about it, but yeah, I’m definitely interested.

It’s clear that Smith is looking for a new challenge in an attempt to rebound after a relatively quiet year by his standards in 2023.

While Smith still averaged 42.22 with three centuries and plundered nearly a thousand runs, it was his lowest average in a calendar year since 2014 – excluding 2018 and 2020 – where he played very few Tests due to a post-‘Sandpapergate’ ban in Cape Town City. and then the Covid-19 pandemic.

All-rounder Cameron Green plus openers Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matthew Renshaw are the other top contenders to replace Warner.

Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting is keen to get his chance as a traditional opener later this month – and has real reservations about Green at the crease from the first over.

«Not a chance,» he said bluntly. «It’s time to go back and find the next best batsman in Australia with India’s Test and Ashes series in mind.»

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