Australian Test skipper Tim Paine has dropped a huge hint and has revealed that incumbent Joe Burns will most likely open with David Warner come the first Test in Adelaide. The opening spot of Burns, who averages 11.40 in the ongoing Shield season, was expected to be taken by young Will Pucovski.
Following the comments of Justin Langer, who earlier stated that the Aussies will look to stick with the winning combination, Test skipper Tim Paine has now hinted that Joe Burns might get the nod over Will Pucovski for the first Test against India in Adelaide. Burns, who opened with Warner in the entirety of 2019/20 home summer and struck a valiant 97 versus Pakistan, has come under fire for his lean run in the Sheffield Shield this season, averaging just 11.40, and his woes have been multiplied by the form of young Will Pucovski, who is in the form of his life, having struck back-to-back double tons.
However, despite growing calls from both the media and supporters to hand Pucovski a Baggy Green, Paine has hinted that Burns, in all probability, will play the first Test, thanks to his proven track record.
"Burnsy had a really good summer for us last year with David Warner, their partnership and relationship is a really important one for our team. They got us off to a number of good starts last year,” Paine told Cricket.com.au.
"Burnsy hasn't been in the form that he would like or scored the runs he would like. But we know he does a good job. He averages close to 40 in Test cricket for Australia, which is a great effort opening the batting, and I expect him to start this summer."
It remains a mystery as to how many Tests Burns will feature in, but there is no such doubt in the case of Paine’s counterpart Virat Kohli, who confirmed last week that he will head back home to India on paternity leave post the conclusion of the first Test. Paine, who shares a healthy, sportive on-field relationship with Kohli, remarked that it was a shame that the Australian fans will not get to see more of Kohli, but expressed cheeky relief over the 32-year-old’s absence.
"Disappointed for Australian cricket fans that will only get to see a little bit of him. As a player you want to play against the best and beat them," the wicketkeeper said.
"But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a side of me that said I was slightly happy he won't be there for three of the Test matches."
The first Test between Australia and India will be played at the Adelaide Oval under lights on December 17. India will play two warm-up games against Australia A prior to the Test series, in which all three of Burns, Pucovski and Paine are expected to feature.