Steve Smith set to be David Warner’s replacement as Test opener

Moving up to open the batting could add “two or three years” to Steve Smith’s Test career according to teammate Marnus Labuschagne who also declared getting Cameron Green back to the line-up would be the “perfect scenario” for Australia.

Speculation has intensified ahead of national selectors confirming who will replace retired star David Warner at the top of the order against the West Indies with Smith emerging as a likely candidate.

Despite reservations from a raft of Australian greats, Smith told selectors he was keen to explore the new challenge which would allow them to get Green, who has been squeezed out of the Test side by Mitch Marsh, back in to the side.

Labuschagne threw his support behind the changes declaring it would only help boost the Australian team which is coming off a 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan.

“If Steve does get the nod (to open), I have no doubt that he will do a good job,” Labuschagne said.

“Cameron Green’s record at No.4 for Western Australia is amazing.

“Obviously that is not a direct correlation to Test cricket, but you can be pretty confident that over a period of time he is going to be a very good player in that position.

“(Smith) is excited for a new challenge. If that motivates him and gets the cricket world Steven Smith for another two or three years, I think that is a massive win.

“It looks like the perfect scenario. When he was captain I know he liked a little more time between being in the field and going out there, but he is ready to get out there from the start now.”

Test captain Pat Cummins has advocated against making too many changes in the wake of Warner’s departure.

But Labuschagne said the key could be the willingness of the players to make the move, with Green having played all his Tests batting at number six.

“I have no doubt that if Cam had to slot into the No.1 spot that he would be able to do that as well and that he would be able to bat wherever the team needs,” he said.

“But it seems in this case that Steve really wants that opportunity to bat at the top.

“If they do end up going that way it looks like the perfect swap.“

Labuschagne said Green had the skills to thrive higher in the batting order having thrived at number four batting for Western Australia, averaging 60 in first class cricket.

“He has got a really nice even temperament, a great ability to absorb pressure, is a very good decision-maker, has got a sound technique and a great defence,” Labuschagne said.

“I think that is the versatility you need at No.4, someone that can play different scenarios and know when to push the button and when to hold back.

“We have seen him do well in the IPL, so we know he has got that (attacking) button.

“We have seen him playing in England (against) extensive periods of short ball bowling and managing that.”

Going with Smith and Green could be a hammer blow to opening hopefuls Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw.

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