Legendary former Australian opener Matthew Hayden says Joe Burns deserves to keep his spot at the top of the order, but added that competition for spots is a good thing.
Burns was under pressure to retain his position for the opening Test against India, after young gun Will Pucovski’s barrage of Sheffield Shield runs in the lead-up.
However, Burns is now all but certain to line-up alongside Pucovski for the first Test after the groin injury to David Warner.
Hayden said the battle for spots in Australia’s Test side is reminiscent of what used to take place during the country’s golden era in the 1990s and 2000s.
“One of the things I love about this current set-up, you’ve got names like Pucovski who are coming into the frame and scoring big Shield runs,” he told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio.
“Think back to our generation and there was four or five players competing for two spots.
“There was Michael Slater and Mark Taylor that were ahead of me in terms of spots, and then contending with me were Greg Blewett, Matthew Elliott, Jamie Cox, Dean Hills, there were some really high quality players.
“People pushing on those buttons of the selectors forcing (the incumbent players) to get runs and big runs, and it is the same with wickets as well.
“These are the things that make the culture of Cricket Australia strong and really important that we keep performing around the first class scene and putting pressure on the top line players.”
Hayden pointed to Burns’ stellar record at the top of the order last summer as a reason for why he should retain his spot.
“I reckon he deserves at least a couple of Test matches. They averaged 60 in Australia last year, if you get your side off to 60 every time you bat, I’m afraid you’re first picked,” he said.
“Joe Burns definitely gets the tick of approval from me and he will be under pressure as he should be.
“You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re just taking your spot for granted and not getting quality runs at the appropriate times as a Test opener.”