Former selector Mark Waugh says form should be the one and only guide for picking the Test team in another strong push for batting dynamo Will Pucovski to open with David Warner against India in Adelaide.
Australian coach Justin Langer, also a selector, has suggested his preference is to stick with Joe Burns because of the partnership he formed with Warner at the top of the order last summer in series wins over Pakistan and New Zealand.
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said Warner would be consulted because “it’s important (Warner) is comfortable as well”.
“We certainly do consult players on such issues,” he said.
But Waugh, who was a selector from 2014-18, serving with Hohns, said he couldn’t remember ever asking a player about selection beyond “a chat at the airport” and Warner should bat with whoever is picked.
“There has been a lot of push for Joe Burns to be picked because David Warner wants to bat with him, which is not on,” Waugh said.
“David Warner bats with whoever is selected.
“You pick the best player, the best two opening batsmen. Whoever it is they can work out how to bat with each other.
“As far as batting is concerned, I think the most important thing to focus on is obviously the position, a specialist position and whether you‘re in form or not.
“There’s a bit of credit for experience and runs beforehand. But it’s all about the form rather than who someone wants to bat with.”
Waugh said he would go with 22-year-old Pucovski, who scored two double-hundreds for Victoria to earn selection in the Test squad, ahead of Burns, who didn’t pass 30 in five innings for Queensland.
“If I was selecting I would go with Will Pucovski. I think he’s just in such great form and you strike while the iron is hot,” he told RSN.
“I know the Australia A game (against India next month) is going to have a bearing on selection. But at the moment I would pick him because he is the form player.
“When you are not making runs you open up discussions about your spot, and that’s been the case with Joe Burns.”
Earlier this week Warner said he didn’t think Burns “did anything wrong last summer” when the pair averaged 60 batting together.
The veteran opener said he would be “honest” if asked by selectors but would also bat with whoever was picked.
“It‘s on the selectors to pick the team and I’ve got to be happy with that and embrace it,” he said.