The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Bulls bats on track to line up


QUEENSLAND have never been renowned for producing Test batsmen, never mind three at the one time.

Yet Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja and Chris Lynn all have undeniable claims to being chosen in the first Test of the home summer against New Zealand at the Gabba, starting on November 5.

Only two batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner, seem certaintie­s at the minute, although the landscape could change again after the two-Test tour of Bangladesh in October.

Former Australian coach Bob Simpson once said that any district batsman was six centuries away from playing for Australia – three for his club, then three more for his state.

This is the summer when it might just come true.

An intriguing element of the lead-up to the home Test summer will be exactly how many Australian batting spots are up for grabs.

There is a theory that Australia will hang on to Adam Voges, despite his ordinary Ashes series, because they will not want to blood too many rookies at the same time.

Yet there is another notion that Smith and Warner will be the only top-order batsmen left standing, because Australia will want to wipe the slate clean and start again.

As of now, it appears likely the Aussies will give young allrounder Mitchell Marsh a crack at a home summer.

One of the few certaintie­s is that surely the book has closed on his older brother Shaun.

Shaun averages 33 from 15 Tests.

Shaun made his first-class debut in 2000-01 and has mustered 16 centuries – roughly about one a season – in that time.

That is not even close to being good enough and he should have been given his baggy green marching orders well before now.

Despite the Ashes flop, Aussie fast-bowling stocks provide a reason for hope.

Aussie quicks hardly set the world on fire in the Ashes, but the likes of Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and even Nathan Coulter-Nile are waiting in the wings.

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