Is showing value of patience
TRAVISHead’s mental strength has been hailed by former Test opener Chris Rogers as the blueprint for Australia’s next-generation batsman as they take on India in Adelaide.
Head was one of four top six Australian batsman with less than 15 Tests fronting against India — its most inexperienced group since World Series. India, by contrast, had nine players fronting from its 2014 Test tour here.
Head’s 72 in 167 balls in the first innings belied his natural attacking instincts and came seven months after unpacking his batting approach. “He has the talent, it was working the mental, tactical and emotional as well,” Rogers said.
Head has always possessed the searing strokeplay that can turn a match — highlighted by an incredible, unbeaten New Year’s Eve 101 against Sydney Sixers three years ago. The Strikers needed 51 off 18 balls win, Head smashed 56 in 15.
This winter Rogers took Head aside and told him patience was a virtue at Test level and particularly in English conditions. A new forward defence is Head’s best friend in the baggy green.
“Sometimes when you play in conditions like England the ball is swinging around corners. That is where your best weapon is to rely on defence,” said batting whisperer and national performance squad coach Rogers. “I watched a bit of Trav in England and a couple of things I thought he was doing that would hinder him having success in England — the shapes he was getting his body into. I think he has done some pretty good work with the coaches with South Australia and Australia.”
Test legend Ricky Ponting lamented the “simple errors” from Australia’s top six in its first innings against India and a first-class system where averages of 40 are a rarity.
Head’s appointment as SA’s youngest skipper in February 2015 corresponded with an increase in his Sheffield Shield batting average from 28 to 41.
Head had the capacity to adapt and thirst to eliminate any weakness through relentless practice.
Attacked around the wicket by bowlers, Head had to find answers and new scoring avenues. Head’s 72 on debut against Pakistan helped achieve a draw in Dubai and the same score could save Australia’s bacon in Adelaide.
“It is not something you fix straight away, you work out your angles and he thinks hard about the game,” said Rogers.
“He is one of the players that is always working hard on his game and wants to get better.”
Legend Adam Gilchrist rates Head the key to a successful Australian rebuild under coach Justin Langer.
“Travis Head could play a huge role in the future, not just with bat in hand,” said Fox Sports expert Gilchrist.
“He is a young leader of his state team, really promising signs.”