The onus is on Joe Burns to prove people wrong after he retained his Test opening batting position “almost by default”, former Australian captain Mark Taylor says.
Burns is set to open with Matthew Wade in the first Test against India, starting in Adelaide on Thursday.
Australia lost David Warner and Will Pucovski to injury, likely giving Burns a stay of execution. Selectors then showed faith to pick him over late call-up Marcus Harris, who has far better form this season.
“I think the selectors have shown great faith in him,” Taylor told TODAY.
“Obviously with the openers’ position the way it’s been in recent times with Warner out, no Will Pucovski, who probably who have debuted in this Test match, they’ve been left a bit short-handed in the opening position.
“Joe Burns has retained his position, almost by default I suspect, but it’s a great opportunity for him.
“I’ve said in the lead-up to this game, I probably wouldn’t have picked him in my side, but the selectors have stuck with him, they’ve shown faith, and I really hope that he proves people like me wrong; that he goes out and gets some runs today.
“It’s a vital position to play, obviously, opening the batting for Australia.”
Australian coach Justin Langer was seen striding into the nets to have an animated discussion with Burns ahead of the Test.
“I think what he’s trying to do is instill some confidence in him,” Taylor said.
“He’s looked terribly out of form, Joe, in recent times. It’s not just the low scores, it’s the way he’s been getting out. He’s been bowled, LBW and caught behind the wicket a lot, which is not a good thing for an opening batsman going into a new Test series against a quality Indian attack.
“I think Justin’s saying, ‘Come on mate, new Test match, new day, let’s get out there and find the old Joe Burns.”