Australia’s side has remained settled throughout the Test summer with no injury issues or form concerns to speak of and looks likely to be unchanged for the third match in a row at the SCG which will mark Warner’s retirement from the format. Australia’s selectors are meeting on Saturday to confirm the squad but it is unlikely they will make a decision on Warner’s replacement until after the third Test against Pakistan.
“All options will be considered,” McDonald said. “And I said we’re not going to make the decision until the deadline which will be the West Indies game.
“There’s a few options. Everyone is well aware of the options. I’m a person that once you know when you’re going to make the decision, you make it at that point in time. Until then the discussions will be open. We’ll put a deadline on that. That’ll be the West Indies selection meeting.”
The debate between picking a specialist or experienced opener in either Harris, Bancroft or Renshaw or picking the best six batters available and simply reshaping the batting order to accommodate them remains a real discussion point among the selectors, with the prospect of having two allrounders in Marsh and Green remaining very enticing.
“Cameron Green, as a discussion around who are the best six batters, has definitely been in the conversation,” McDonald confirmed.
“Davey’s not a selector,” McDonald said. “And I remember back to when I think Davey endorsed Matt Renshaw so I think the next one will probably be Cam Bancroft and then Cameron Green and he’ll have all bases covered, but…it’s great when a fellow player endorses someone else internally. It means that they’ve probably excluded other players as well, but he was asked his opinion and we’re happy with him to express that.”
It is unlikely that the preferred candidate would be added to the Sydney squad to be reintroduced to the playing group given Bancroft and Renshaw have BBL commitments, although Harris does not have a BBL contract.
Green also doesn’t have a BBL contract and has not played any cricket since the Prime Minister’s XI match against Pakistan in early December. There is a Cricket Australia XI tour match against West Indies at Karen Rolton Oval from December 10-12, prior to the first Test starting on January 17 at Adelaide Oval, but it is understood that he is unlikely to play in that game in order to get some match practice.
McDonald said NOC’s would be handled by Cricket Australia’s head of national teams Ben Oliver and chairman of selectors George Bailey with each decision being made on a case-by-case basis.
“He’ll apply for an NOC,” McDonald said. “It’s something that we work through anytime it’s in season. Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis went to the UAE last year as well. So every application is different in terms of the circumstances with what cricket they’ve got coming up, so I’m sure he’ll apply. It’ll be considered. George Bailey and Ben Oliver will work through that and there will be an outcome.
“I think Matthew Wade was given an NOC to miss a Tasmania game for the IPL as well. I think every case should be considered individually.”