Test discard’s plea to selectors over Warner successor

Former Australian Test opener Joe Burns has assured whoever replaces David Warner in the role will walk into the perfect environment as the national side prepares for life after its aggressor at the top of the order.

Burns featured in 23 Tests for Australia, scoring four hundreds and spent most of his time batting with Warner.

Among the contenders to replace him are Burns’ teammate Matthew Renshaw along with Cameron Bancroft and Marcus Harris.

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Will Pucovski will need at least a Sheffield Shield season under his belt before coming into consideration while South Australian Henry Hunt has been discussed as a debutant in the future.

Burns has previously suggested Bancroft is the frontrunner while suggesting Tasmanian Caleb Jewell could come into the frame in the future.

Reflecting on his own Test debut, where he featured in the middle order, Burns said any replacement needs to be given time.

”When you debut for any team let alone the Australian team, you want to put in some good performances straight up to feel comfortable,” he told Wide World of Sports at the BBL launch.

“It’s a really supportive environment so I’m sure anyone that comes in, if they’re going to debut they’re going to strive in that setup.

“I don’t know who they’re going to pick, what way they’re going to go but it is an exciting time for Australian cricket.

“I hope whoever they do get in there, they give a good run to and allow the players to feel really comfortable and confident in what they’re going to do and I’m sure that’s what they’ll do.”

A part of that “supportive environment” is Burns’ Queensland teammate Usman Khawaja.

At 36, Khawaja is in the back end of his career but hasn’t signalled any intention to pull up stumps in the Test arena.

The opener, who moved from New South Wales to Queensland in the 2012/13 season, took over as captain in 2015, replacing James Hopes.

Burns agreed his demeanour is similar to that of Australian captain Pat Cummins.

“Uzzy’s really calm, really measured, it suits the group at Queensland really well,” he said.

“Your captain can wear different hats at different stages in the season, with different groups and that’s the way Usman is for that particular group at Queensland and it works well.”

While playing for Queensland in the domestic cricket season, Burns will play his third year at Melbourne Stars.

The batter shifted from Brisbane Heat, signing a three-year deal in 2021. He was ruled out early in the 2022/23 season due to a hamstring injury.

Despite possessing some of the BBL’s best sides on paper over the years, the Stars are yet to win a competition. Burns’ focus is on doing just that.

“I love going down to Melbourne, really tight group, trying to win the competition,” he said.

“At this stage of my career, that’s exactly what I’m after, to get out there, winning games and winning the competition. I’m looking forward to another season.”

Burns’ first opponent for the Big Bash will be the Brisbane Heat in the season opener on his usual home turf at The Gabba.

Despite the rivalry, Burns said there hadn’t been too much discussion with his domestic teammates.

“Not too much, to be honest it’s so busy during the domestic season, you don’t get too much time to think,” he said.

“Probably going to ramp up this week, it’s a really exciting game, obviously we’ve got Usman and Marnus playing for the Heat and Maxwell and Stoinis from the World Cup squad. Some world class players and hopefully the fans come out and we can put on a show.”

Speaking at the launch, Brisbane spinner and Queensland teammate Matt Kuhnemann wasn’t giving any secrets away on his bowling plans towards Burns.

“Hopefully I don’t have to bowl to him, hopefully one of the quicks have already got him out by the time I’ve got to bowl,” he told Wide World of Sports.

As for Queensland, the Bulls currently sit last in the Sheffield Shield, having gone on a three-match losing streak before a draw against Western Australia in the final game of the first half of the season.

Burns – who sits fifth on the leading runscorers list this season with 437 runs at 43.70 – believes there’s still a chance they’ll play in a final.

“We’ve had some tight games so the season could be looking very different,” he said with a smile.

“We’ve played some good cricket we just need to win some key moments and get some results on the board.

“There’s still a lot to play for after the Big Bash … hopefully we can get up that table and into a Shield final.”

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