Australian cricket legend Matthew Hayden believes the selectors have a lot to answer for after Travis Head’s blistering knock steered the visitors home against India in the third Test.
Head was omitted from the first Test in favour of Matt Renshaw, with the former’s previous struggles on the subcontinent seen as the main reasoning for the decision despite his stunning form in the Australian summer.
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It was a call Head himself “didn’t expect” but had to accept after “robust” conversations with the selectors.
After Renshaw battled in the first Test, Head was immediately drafted back in for the second Test where he scored 12 in the first innings in the middle order.
Head was then thrust into an opening role alongside Usman Khawaja due to David Warner suffering a concussion, and went on to top score for the Aussies with 43 off 46.
Warner then flew home due to another injury, allowing Head to claim the opening role all for his own in the third Test.
Although he mustered just nine runs in the first innings, he blasted a matchwinning 49 not out off 53 where he was forced to bide his time before becoming his explosive self with the bat in hand.
After witnessing Head’s smashing spell out in the middle, Hayden was left puzzled how the selectors could have ever thought to drop him.
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“Australia just did not play their best side (in the first Test) – Travis Head should have been just about No.1 picked in that side,” Hayden said on commentary.
“He was brilliant last (Australian) summer. Who cares what happens a few years ago, he was in form!
“Needed to play that (first) Test. And now he is showing exactly why you pick him.
“He has got wonderful intent to score, his strike rate is enormous.
“Gets that momentum and that belief in the batting changeroom. He is a mover and a shaker.”
Several others in the cricket community shared Hayden’s view.
Although Head possesses an incredible strike rate, Fox Cricket’s Brad Haddin was most impressed with how the opener patiently out the spinning storm from Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja before exploding to life.
“He was five off 24 balls,” Haddin said.
“Then he trusted his technique and then he accelerated.”
Head himself downplayed his role in Australia’s triumph, insisting it was all about biding his time and taking the chance when it came.
“It’s nice to contribute,” Head said in his post-match interview.
“Not everything goes your way and it’s never always going to be clear sailing.
“So, nice to stay prepared, the coaching staff and players and the vibe that we’ve created has meant we can get on with the job and make sure when that chance comes I’m ready enough to take it.”
Head and the rest of his Australian teammates will now turn their attention to the fourth and final Test of the series against India which begins on March 9.
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