Melbourne: Former Australia wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist is heartened with Travis Head’s batting performance in the third One-day International against Sri Lanka at Colombo, saying that he can see the cricketer developing into a long-term opener in the shorter version of the game.
Head was been flown from Hambantota — where he was touring with the Australia A side — to Kandy as cover for an injured Marcus Stoinis. The charismatic 28-year-old, who was Player of the Series during the Ashes, made an instant impact, smashing an unbeaten 70 off 65 balls as Australia piled on 291/6 in the third ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday night.
Australia still ended up losing the game by six wickets after Pathum Nissanka scored a century and Kusal Mendis struck 87. Australia are trailing the five-match series 1-2.
But Gilchrist felt Head is fast developing into a fine opener. Head has played all three formats in 2022 after enjoying a great 12 months in national colours to be counted among the best batters in the world.
Following his ‘Player of the Series’ performance in the Ashes at home, where he scored two centuries, Head smashed a ton in the ODI series in Pakistan this March and has added another two half-tons to his tally in 50-over cricket.
With opener David Warner returning to the side after missing the Pakistan series, Head has had to move back to the middle-order slot against Sri Lanka.
“I think longer-term, down the track, probably in the next 12 months or so, Travis Head will find a spot at the top of the order,” Gilchrist told SEN WA Breakfast on Monday.
“I think he’ll end up opening regularly in the one-day setup and I think that’s where he’ll be able to provide most impact with the team. He can get off to a flying start, he can go at as good a clip as anyone but he’s also got a game where he can lay a foundation for the team.”
With skipper Aaron Finch’s spot at the top shaky after a string of below-par performances, there is an opportunity for Head to claim the slot, and with the T20 World Cup in Australia this year and the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023 around the corner, Gilchrist sees Head partnering Warner at the top.
“(Aaron) Finchy will get through to this T20 World Cup, I think Aaron aspires to get to the next 50-over World Cup which I think is in the sub-continent next year, but it wouldn’t be that long after that that Finch would retire if he got that far,” he said.
“So I see Travis Head definitely at the top of the order down the track.”