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Aussies admit Ashes spots up for grabs

Australia's Ashes squad this year is far from settled, especially when it comes to the top of the batting order.

Aussies admit Ashes spots up for grabs

Australia's Ashes squad this year is far from settled, especially when it comes to the top of the batting order.

DAVID WARNER of Winnipeg Hawks runs to the boundary during a Global T20 Canada match against Montreal Tigers at MLC Club in King City, Canada.
DAVID WARNER of Winnipeg Hawks runs to the boundary during a Global T20 Canada match against Montreal Tigers at MLC Club in King City, Canada. Picture:Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris, Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja are in the mix to open the batting this year in England, underlining the uncertainty regarding Australia's Ashes defence.

Warner is expected to return from his 12-month suspension at the top of the order in the five-Test series.


Harris, who debuted at Adelaide Oval last month, has made a promising start to Test cricket but Renshaw and Burns, both called up for the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka, are two other obvious candidates to open alongside Warner.

Bancroft could also yet belt down the door if he excels in the second half of the Sheffield Shield season, while some of Khawaja's best Test knocks have come at the top of the order.

That highlights how unsettled Australia's top six are for the showpiece series that will follow the one-day World Cup in England.

"A lot will depend on the availability of (Steve) Smith, Warner and Bancroft," chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said, when asked how many spots in the Ashes XI are up for grabs.

"There could be any number.

"There are still positions vacant ... these guys now have the opportunity to cement a place, or at least make it difficult for us to leave them out."

The final two spots in the top six are also still very much open to debate.

Shaun Marsh's stop-start Test career appears over but that also appeared the case in 2017, when the veteran was axed then demanded a recall through sheer weight of runs.

Marsh remains part of Australia's World Cup plans and Hohns noted the door to the Ashes is not shut for him.

Renshaw is one of few Australian players with impressive first-class form in English conditions, having posted three centuries while scoring 513 runs in six county matches for Somerset last year.

"He's scored a lot of runs in England ... with the Ashes in mind, it's probably time now to get him back and around the group," Hohns said.

Renshaw was born in Yorkshire and counted England's current captain Joe Root as a childhood friend.

"England is a great place and I had a bit of (county) success," Renshaw said.

"It'd be good fun.

"It's been a while since we've won a series over there but I've got to worry about that Sri Lanka series first."

AAP


AAP




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